RI Global Newsletter, August 2018: Work together, build better lives for persons with disabilities across the world





All-Russian Society of Disabled People celebrates 30th anniversary

All-Russian Society of Disabled People, a National Member Organization (NMO) of Rehabilitation International in Russia, celebrated its 30th anniversary in Moscow, with two days of events from August 16-17 2018.  RI Secretary General, Venus Ilagan was invited as guest of honor for the event where she conveyed the best wishes from the RI President and members of the organization’s Executive Committee. Ms. Ilagan also delivered a message from  RI President , Madam Haidi Zhang who expressed appreciation for all the accomplishments of ARSD over three decades.

In her remarks, SG Venus Ilagan informed ARSD members that Rehabilitation International, as a pioneering organization working in rehabilitation and disability since its establishment in 1922, has been working closely with the United Nations and national organizations for persons with disabilities across the world to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others in their communities. At the global level, RI has been engaged in the UN’s work for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and advocated for critical issues concerning persons with disabilities including inclusion in education, health care, employment and accessibility, as well as issues related to multiple and intersecting discrimination faced by women and girls with disabilities and the extreme poverty afflicting persons with disabilities in rural and remote settings.

At regional and national levels, RI is firmly committed to the work for the poorest of disabled people. Madam Haidi Zhang, as the first president of RI who comes from a developing country, knows by heart the difficulties and challenges faced by disabled persons, especially women, with disabilities in a society where resources and opportunities are limited at best or non-existent at all. This experience has been the inspiration that makes her use her leadership in RI to reach out to the poorest disabled persons to make a difference in their lives. Under her presidency, RI has raised funds to launch the Global Disability Development Fund last year which aims to support activities of RI members in the developing countries through project funding ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 for a one-year project. A funding facility specifically targeted at capacity building in Africa for persons with disabilities was also established. More recently, Madam Zhang has received a donation of new generation power wheelchairs from a manufacturer in China, which will be given to pre-identified RI members who have the best possibilities of using these appliances to support their activities towards becoming independent and self-sustaining. The wheelchairs will be given out through RI’s regional vice presidents.

RI also congratulated the All-Russian Society of Disabled People for the work it does for over 1.5 million persons with disabilities in Russia, as RI pursues the goal of  working with other likeminded organizations to  build a better life for over one billion persons with disabilities worldwide and for a more sustainable and inclusive development and society.

RI Secretary General Venus Ilagan giving her message at the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the All-Russian Society of Disabled People in Moscow.

“We the Peoples… Together Finding Global Solutions for Global Problems”

The 67th session of the United Nations Department of Public Information/NGO Conference was held at the UN Headquarters in New York from 22-23 August 2018 to re-assert the value of multilateralism in the face of rising skepticism worldwide.  The Conference provided an opportunity for the United Nations, Member States and NGOs to come together to discuss concrete ways for NGOs to work more effectively with the UN to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to communicate and advocate for it. The outcome document entitled “ People-Centered Multilateralism: A Call to Action” was adopted, acknowledging the necessity of expanding the role of civil society partnerships, especially with youth, to advance the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) to ensure that the 2030 Agenda leaves no one behind. Civil society, in the outcome document, also committed to support the successful repositioning of the UN system with its collaboration, passion and creativity.

The conference organized six roundtables, including: 1) Women and Gils Mobilizing, 2) The Universal declaration of Human Rights at 70, 3) A Repositioned UN Development System, 4) Youth: Today’s Leaders, 5) Shared Planet, Shared Prosperity, 6) Towards UN-75: Communicating the Case for Multilateralism, and various workshops addressing the way forward for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for all. (Relevant resources are available here)

RI Secretary General, Venus Ilagan was invited to deliver a statement, on behalf of Rehabilitation International, at the Conference. Ms. Ilagan highlighted the importance of the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development, and called for concerted actions from the civil society and the United Nations to improve the situation of 1.5 billion persons with disabilities, who can be both agents and beneficiaries of development.

“As members of the global disability community”, Ms. Ilagan said, “we firmly believe and are committed to the importance of working together with you as stakeholders in seeking solutions to the challenges that affect us all. We believe it is important to speak with a unified voice, continue to remind ourselves and all others we work with, including the United Nations, that multilateralism remains the best and perhaps, the only way we can all achieve our shared goals for sustainable development. The commitment of civil society to work with the UN to seek global solutions to global challenges is very much needed and is something we will continue to strive for.”

The 67th DPI/NGO Conference at UN Headquarters in New York, 22 August 2018. 

Photo credit to UN Photo/Loey Felipe

RI Global: Around the World

Australian Building Codes Board to hold consultation forums on accessible housing

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has commenced a new project to examine whether a minimum accessibility standard for housing should be included in the National Construction Code. Accessible housing is any housing that includes features to enable use by people either with a disability or transitioning through their life stages.

The ABCB will be holding morning consultation forums in each capital city. The forums will focus on the ABCB’s Accessible Housing Options Paper, which will be released in advance of the consultation forums. More information here: http://www.abcb.gov.au/


U.S. Access Board to Celebrate 50 Years of the Architectural Barriers Act

The August 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), the first U.S. federal law to address accessibility for people with disabilities. Passed unanimously be Congress in 1968, the law requires facilities funded by the federal government to be accessible. The U.S. Access Board was created to enforce the ABA, which it continues to do to this day. The Board also issues and maintains accessibility guidelines for facilities covered by the law. The Access Board will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ABA on September 7 in Washington, D.C. More information here: https://www.access-board.gov/news/1935-access-board-to-celebrate-50-years-of-the-architectural-barriers-act


USICD mourns the loss of Sen. John McCain

In recognition of his lifetime of service to disability rights, Senator McCain will receive USICD’s Dole-Harkin award for distinction in public service to the global disability community. The award will be presented posthumously at the USICD’s Gala to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in December 2018. USICD Past President, Marca Bristo states that Senator McCain listened to the voices of thousands of people with disabilities from both parties who shared their life stories of injustice and became one of the most ardent supporters of the ADA and CRPD.

Sen. John McCain, Marca Bristo and other advocates at a news conference regarding the ratification of the U.S. on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities July 12, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC

Senator McCain was a champion for the rights of persons with disabilities. He was a principal co-sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act, and fought courageously for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “I have long advocated on behalf of equal access and non-discrimination for all Americans, including our veterans and today’s disabled soldiers returning home from serving their nation in war,” Senator McCain said at his announcement in support for the U.S. Senate’s ratification of the CRPD in 2012, “I support U.S. ratification of the disability treaty, as it seeks to advance these same fundamental values of equality and human dignity around the world.”

RI Global: News to Use

RI opens the second round of GDDF and AF grants application

Rehabilitation International announces the opening of its 2018 Round 2 Request for Proposals for both the Global Disability Development Fund (GDDF) and Africa Fund (AF). Application will be accepted from 1st to the 30th of September 2018. All RI Members and organizations in collaboration with RI members are welcome to apply, More details here: https://www.riglobal.orgri-opens-round-2-of-grants-appliactions/


UN Statistics Division: New portal on disability statistics launched

The United Nations Statics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs recently launched a new portal on disability statistics. The United Nations Disability Statistics Database (DISTAT) serves as the repository of data and metadata on disability from official statistics compiled from national population and housing censuses, household surveys, and some administrative data. The data show the basic prevalence of disability, and aim to illustrate some socio-economic characteristics and living conditions of persons with and without disabilities for analyses of equalization of opportunities and inclusive development. To learn more about it, please visit: https://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic-social/sconcerns/disability/statistics/#/countries


UN Women: UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women and women and girls with disabilities announced new grants for projects

UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women announced nine grants for projects working to prevent and end violence against women and girls with disabilities. These projects aim to strengthen the response capacity of local grassroots organizations working with women and girls survivors of violence, and are expected to reach almost 100,000 beneficiaries in five regions of the world, including women and girls with disabilities, workers in government institutions and men and boys. More information: http://untf.unwomen.org/en/news-and-events/stories/2018/07/new-funding-to-prevent-and-end-violence-against-women-and-girls-with-disabilities


WHO: Virtual discussion on Civil Society and multisectoral action on NCDs open

Building on the success of the Civil Society Working Group on the third High-level Meeting on the UN General Assembly on NCDs, which is comprised of 26 civil society representatives, the Multisectoral Action on NCDs is an important time for civil society engagement.

The Multisectoral Action on NCDs next Community of Practice now ask how civil society “look and feel” in the context of noncommunicable disease prevention and treatment. To join the discussion, please visit: https://communities.gcmportal.org/oxford


Council of Europe: The 2018 Report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe issued

The 2018 Report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe: Role of institutions, Threats to institutions was issued. It examines the key features of democratic security, including an efficient, impartial and independent judiciary, freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully. The report focuses in particular on the role of institutions, both domestic and international, as they are pivotal to uphold the rule of law and free it from political pressure. “Stable democracies are those which have strong institutional checks on power. The report cites a number of good practices in member states successfully carrying out democratic reforms. However, it also underlines the threats which exist to the democratic functioning of institutions resulting mainly from the rise of populism. To read the full report, please visit: https://edoc.coe.int/en/an-overview/7584-state-of-democracy-human-rights-and-the-rule-of-law-5th-report-role-of-institutions-threats-to-institutions.html

RI Global: Mark Your Calendar

16 August 2018, Hamburg, Germany, International Symposium on Benefits & Conditions of Sports regarding Health and Participation of People with Disabilities

On the occasion of the Wheelchair Basketball World Championships (WBWC) 2018 in Hamburg, Germany, the organizing partners are proud to announce an international symposium, where international scientists, experts and practitioners will present important aspects of sports and physical education in relation to rehabilitation. Aiming to collect and promote the knowledge of benefits of sports and the conditions to be met in order to achieve these benefits, the international symposium will provide an important contribution to health and participation of people with disabilities as well as a platform for establishing networks and cooperation among professionals in the area of Leisure, Recreation and Physical Activity, interested in the benefits of sports in a rehabilitation context.


4-5 September 2018, Brisbane, Australia, 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference

Centre for Universal Design Australia and COTA Queensland will hold the 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference to set the sights across the wide world of universal design. The theme of this year is “Home and Away: Creating Inclusion Everywhere” with a focus on housing and tourism. The theme extends to services, ICT, media, as well as design of the built environment and open space. This conference aims to broaden delegates’ thinking about the ways that universal design can be utilized and applied.


14-17 October, Vancouver, Canada, The International Forum on Disability Management (IFDM) 2018 by Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Science

The International Forum on Disability Management will build on the history of innovation, leadership and best practice solutions through 78 stimulating workshop sessions and 3 plenary panel presentations with representatives from 20 countries. The three plenary panels will discuss critical challenges in workers compensation systems, disability and poverty and mental health in today’s workplace.


4 November, Berlin, Germany, Advancing the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities worldwide

The RI Commission on Policy and Services will hold a meeting to advance the work of RI Global through reviewing the progress made in advancing the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities through the policy and services contributed by RI Global, and discuss on the way forward through more collaboration with other RI Commissions, as well as other stakeholders and experts.


6-8 November, Strasbourg, France, 35th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

The Congress will hold its 35th session in the Hemicycle of the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg. The theme of this session is “Integrity and ethical behavior of local and regional elected representatives” with debates on the revision of the European Code of Conduct for all persons involved in local and regional governance, conflicts of interest and transparency and open government. It will also celebrate 30 years of the European Charter on Local Self-Government.


8-12 November, New Delhi, India, 2018 Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities

The Korean Society for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (KSRPD) has been spreading awareness and policies on IT and persons with disabilities at regional and national levels, in close collaboration with the Korean government, RI Global and international organizations since 2011. This year, the 2018 GITC will be held in New Delhi, India, which has performed an exemplary role both as an IT powerhouse and using IT to solve various disability issues both domestically and internationally. In particular, the Government of India has pledged to implement its role and responsibility as a co-host country by supporting accommodation and event venue for all participants. The four-day event will be an exceptional forum for youth with disabilities to demonstrate their leadership and knowledge in the IT industry, and for experts and practitioners from governments and international organizations to explore policy options to reduce the digital gap for persons with disabilities ad well as to promote ICT policies and networks inclusive of persons with disabilities.


12-15 November, Taipei, Taiwan, 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons

The 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons, organized by Eden Social Welfare Foundation, invites researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and advocates to contribute to the discussion on accessible transportation.

The 14th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons


26-28 June 2019, Macau, RI Asia and Pacific Regional Conference 2019

Under the main theme of “ Together, leaving no one behind, in disability inclusive and rights-based progress” the 2018 RI Asia and Pacific Regional Conference will organize plenary sessions focused on key issues including disability inclusive disaster risk reduction and post disaster rehabilitation, gender and disabilities, education, work, employment and social enterprise, and accessibility as well as international frameworks such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Incheon Strategy adopted for  the Asia and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities and  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Registration for RI Meetings in Berlin is now open.

RI members are reminded that the RI Executive Board meeting, the 2018 General Assembly and other meetings, will take place in Berlin, Germany from 2 -6 November this year.  For more detailed information on registration for your participation and hotel bookings, please email our colleagues at ri2018@dvfr.de. Please note about the deadline to avail of discounted hotel rates negotiated by local organizers which is available until August 8, 2018. After that date, regular hotel rates will apply.



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