RI Global Newsletter, January 2018: New Year, New Goals

RI Global Newsletter, January 2018
New Year, New Goals
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RI Global President Zhang Haidi visits Alpha Special Education School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the annual meeting. 

RI Global January 2018 Newsletter
New Year, New Goals for RI Global

RI Global announces new funds for achieving equality in 2018
Coming off a successful annual meeting in Africa, Rehabilitation International enters the New Year by launching two important projects to feature disability more prominently on the Agenda 2030 at the urging of RI President Haidi Zhang.

The Global Disability Development Fund (GDDF) will assist RI members – as well as members of groups partnered with RI – in pursuing a broad base of activities relative to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and RI’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan. The Africa Fund (AF) will support projects in disability and rehabilitation in Africa and assist with the annual membership dues of deserving RI members on the continent.

“Africa is a region that is very important to RI,” said RI President Haidi Zhang, in a meeting with disability leaders and partners held in Addis Ababa in November 2017. “I am especially interested on addressing issues affecting women and children with disabilities.” The multi-year fund provided to support RI’s global work comes from the Government of China through the China Disabled Persons Federation (CDPF), RI’s national member organization in China. To apply, visit the AF section and GDDF section of the website.

RI President Zhang Haidi and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, will speak on a panel at the 56th Commission for Social Development on 31 January.
RI GLOBAL at UN/Around the World
RI Global at the 56th Commission for Social Development
Over the past decade, while the international community has recognized the need for disability inclusive development, national policies and strategies have not yet been fully responsive to the needs, concerns and perspectives of persons with disabilities. The extent of poverty and inequality in all development areas experienced by persons with disabilities is often the result of the shortcomings in the structural, political and cultural environments in which they reside.

Although the priority theme for the 2018 policy cycle is Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all, a high-level panel discussion on Towards inclusive, resilient and sustainable development: an evidence-based approach to the mainstreaming of disability in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Agenda 2030 will take place on 31 January 2018 at 3pm. The panel, featuring Zhang Haidi, the President of Rehabilitation International, as well as Catalina Devandas Aguilar, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the Human Rights Council and members of the World Bank, among others, will focus on strategies and tools that support the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development. The panel will also discuss how evidence-based research, including the status of disability data and statistics, can be further improved to ensure disability inclusive implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the 2030 Agenda.

RI Global expert speaks at WHO meeting
Huang Yueqin, Chair of Commission of Health and Function of Rehabilitation International and vice chair of China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) recently attended a WHO meeting to help address unmet rehabilitation needs worldwide. Huang shared her insights during the Rehabilitation 2030 Call for Action, which presents bold actions required to reduce the substantial unmet need for rehabilitation globally. Huang discussed the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine in rehabilitation treatments with WHO officials and representatives from US NGOs. As an expert on mental health, Huang also expressed China’s interest in developing a package of Priority Rehabilitation Interventions for low-resource settings. She proposed effective rehabilitation interventions for a number of highly prevalent health conditions and associated impairments amenable to rehabilitation, as well as those that can have a profound impact on functioning.

Members of the Sharjah Center for Humanitarian Services test out the new disability friendly ATM put on its campus earlier this month. 
RI GLOBAL Member Profile: 
Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (UAE) 
An innovative automated teller machine (ATM) designed with artificial intelligence (AI) to help visually challenged and wheelchair bound people to bank independently opened early this month, the first initiative of the year for Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS). With the help of Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB), the ATM – installed at the SCHS – is a part of the humanitarian organization’s efforts to enable the financial empowerment of disabled people in order to further integrate them into society – one of many agenda items for SCHS this year. “SIB’s initiative to ensure that people of determination have access to banking services showed a great sense of social responsibility,” said Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, director-general of the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services.  Kulaithim Obaid Al Matroushi, a wheelchair user, put it more simply: “I felt so great withdrawing Dh500 from the ATM without anyone’s help.”

Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services was founded in 1979 as a branch of the Arab Family Organization, which is the Council of the League of Arab States’ effort to foster and promote families in the Arab world. SCHS works to reduce the causes of various disabilities through early intervention and community outreach, but also aims at fostering the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities through education, rehabilitation, and job placement. Earlier this year, SCHS launched the All Responsible campaign which calls upon individuals and institutions to contribute and commit to social responsibility by assisting with SCHS efforts in advocating, including, and empowering persons with disabilities. The campaign kicked off in January with a donation of 80 million Dirhams from His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE to build and develop facilities for Sharjah City, including the Al Wafa School for Capacity Development, the Al Amal School for the Deaf and Masarat Center for Development. More on the SCHS website.

Athletes are preparing for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in the Republic of Korea.
RI GLOBAL Mark Your Calendar
UNESCAP High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the 
56th Commission for Social Development: The priority theme for the 2018 policy cycle is Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all, with a special discussion on disability and development. United Nations, 29 January to 7 February 2018

9th World Urban Forum:  The theme for WUF9 Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda, and places the Forum’s focus on the New Urban Agenda as a tool and accelerator for achieving Agenda 2030. Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 7-13 February.

Zero Project Conference 2018: The conference will gather 500 decision makers and opinion leaders worldwide, highlight more than 50 Innovative Policies and Innovative Practices, and involve leading experts from all over the world in the discussion of the most relevant solutions for the implementation of the UN CRPD.Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria, 21-23 February. 

International Paralympic Winter Games: The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will be held for 10 days in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, the Republic of Korea – the first Olympics held in Koreas since the Seoul Paralympic Games in 1988. Pyeong Chang, Republic of Korea, 9-18 March. 

11th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD: Since 2008, the States Parties to the CRPD have met at the UN in order to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the present Convention. The 11th session will feature, among other agenda items, an election of nine members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY 12-14 June 2018.

RI GLOBAL News to Use

International Day of Sign Languages declared
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 23 September as International Day of Sign Languages. The resolution (A/C.3/72/L.36/Rev.) was initially adopted by consensus during the Third Committee of the UN GA on Thursday, 16 November 2017 and officially declared in December. According to Ambassador Walton Webson of the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda,“The acclimation of 23 September as the international day of sign languages is a significant step in the universalization of all communities to… meet our universal goal of inclusion.” The first International Day of Sign Languages will be celebrated on 23 September 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf.

Attempted suicides by disabled double after fit-to-work assessment
Attempted suicides among out-of-work disability benefit claimants in the UK more than doubled since the introduction of fit-to-work assessments in 2008, according to British newspaper The Independent. Data from NHS in 2007, showed that 21 per cent of IB claimants had tried to take their own lives, compared with 6 per cent of the general adult population. Seven years later, the same survey revealed that 43 per cent of ESA claimants – and as high as 47 per cent of female ESA claimants – had attempted suicide in their lifetimes, compared with 7 per cent of the general population. Disability groups and charities told The Independent many disabled people are made “incredibly stressed and anxious” by the capability tests, adding that poor-quality assessments often lead to incorrect decisions.

Cooper Hewitt Museum Presents Access + Accessibility
Providing a major platform for the growing movement toward accessibility and inclusive design, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum presents products, projects and services developed by and with people with disabilities that expand their ability to lead independent lives and engage more fully in the world. The “Access+Ability” exhibition features more than 70 works, including: Racing Wheelchair, 2016, designed by BMW Designworks, which won four medals in the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro; the inclusive Los Angeles County Voting Booth; and Emma Watch, 2016, a wearable device that uses haptic vibration technology to allow users with tremors to regain the use of their hand. Through 3 September 2018, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street, New York.

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize which consists of a sum of €60 000, a trophy and a diploma, is open to nominations from any individual, NGO or institution working to defend human rights.
RI GLOBAL Opportunities and Awards 
Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation Research Prize
The Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation Berlin, a foundation dedicated to the rehabilitation of persons with physical and multiple disabilities, awards triennially a research prize to current scientific research work in the field of post-clinical long-term neurological rehabilitation of persons with acquired damage to the nervous system. The total prize money of EUR 30,000 can be distributed between more than one winner. Approved for submission are academic dissertations and theses, published project reports, book publications and specialist journal articles in German or English, which have been completed within the past two years. For application, please see the website. Applications must be submitted by 30 June.

New platform to register for Commission on Status of Women
A new platform is being used for managing NGO registration to meetings and events at the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) at UN Headquarters in New York. The platform is called Indico, and it replaces the registration functionality of the previous system, CSO-Net. In Indico, representatives register themselves individually, which will increase online security and privacy for each participant. CSW62 has asked that participants commence the registration process as soon as possible to allow time to understand the new platform and make relevant inquiries, if necessary. The registration process for each representative of an organization must be complete by no later than 27 January 2018. For further information, please visitwebsite

Mental health and rehabilitation: An European perspective
Organized by Rehabilitation International Europe and National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Belgium), this symposium will explore the return to work of people with mental disabilities and chronic disease in the EU, as well as UK and Scandinavian perspectives on mental health and work. National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Belgium), Avenue de Tervueren 211, Brussels, Belgium, 15 March. 

Call for nominations for the 2018 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize
The Prize, which consists of a sum of €60 000, a trophy and a diploma, is open to nominations from any individual, NGO or institution working to defend human rights and rewards outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond. It is awarded in memory of Václav Havel, playwright, architect of the velvet revolution of 1989, President of the Czech Republic and an enduring symbol of opposition to despotism. Prize regulations and the nomination forms can be found on the Assembly’s website, with a deadline of 30 April. For more information, email hrprize.pace@coe.int

GAATES launches International Certification of Accessibility Consultants 
The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), recognized as an international leader in the field of accessibility, announces the launch of the International Certification of Accessibility Consultants – Built Environment (ICAC-BE) program, the first ever international-level certification program for built environment accessibility experts. The program accredits hose professionals who are actively developing universally designed, accessible, and inclusive built environments for everyone, including persons with disabilities and older persons. Please visit website the GAATES website or contact  certification@gaates.org.

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