RI Global Newsletter, July 2018: Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies



The High-level Political Forum 2018

The high-level political forum (HLPF) on sustainable development met from 9 to 18 July at the United Nations Headquarters. The theme this year is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”. The HLPF is also reviewing progress towards the SDGs and focusing in particular on:

  • Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

At the opening session of the 2018 HLPF, Ms. María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, highlighted the nexus of international human rights framework, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She noted that fiscal space and stable funding are  needed by  developing countries in addressing the challenges in the full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda and called for more international cooperation, government initiatives and broader support from the private sector.Mainstreaming and disability-inclusion are increasingly recognized as an effective strategy and featured in international development frameworks and efforts. In this connection, the international community has new opportunities to promote the rights, well-being and perspectives of persons with disabilities into concrete actions in the context of the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

A growing number of national strategies and action plans have adopted integrated approaches, and strengthened institutional structures and mechanisms for better coordination and implementation. Disability has also started to gain momentum as an important issue in access to water and sanitation and sustainable energy, rural and urban development, international cooperation for inclusive development, in the context of the 2030 Agenda. Out of 47 Voluntary National Reviews submitted for the HLPF this year, over 40 Member States made specific references to disability issues.

Moving forward, it is critical for Governments, UN system and civil society, especially organizations of persons with disabilities to address the intersectionality, the challenges and concerns of those left furthest behind, including persons with disabilities, in society and development and to ensure equal opportunities and access for them to participate in all spheres of society and development.

Removing barriers faced by persons with disabilities is key to achieving Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Photo credit: UNDP Albania.


Global Disability Summit 2018

The Global Disability Summit, co-hosted by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance (IDA), took place on July 24, 2018 in London. It aimed to mobilize new global and national commitments on disability and showcase good practice, innovation and evidence from across the world. The four key themes were addressed at the plenary sessions 1) tackling stigma and discrimination, 2) inclusive education,3) economic empowerment and 4) technology and innovation; together with gender and humanitarian actions as two cross-cutting issues at the two spotlight sessions.

Over 800 delegates from Governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector attended the Summit. From financial pledges, to assistive devices and technology, to renewed action plans, it yielded 170 commitments to increase disability inclusion in development and humanitarian actions.  The UN Trust Fund, for example, announced nine new grants for projects working to prevent and end violence against women and girls with disabilities, worth  $2.9 million. The nine grants are part of a new Special Funding Window form the UN Trust Fund specifically aimed at preventing and ending violence against women and  girls with disabilities. By the end of their three years of implementation, these projects 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.

 UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, addressed  the opening of the Summit. He reiterated the urgent need to fight discrimination and remove barriers faced by persons with disabilities, and to ensure persons with disabilities with equal access and voice in society for them to realize their fullest possible potential. Noting that there is further to go, he highlighted the UN Secretary-General’s recent launch of a comprehensive review of how the UN system supports the rights of persons with disabilities, and assuring the Governments as well as  civil society organizations with the strong support from the United Nations to moving the agenda of disability movement forward together. The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed, cited the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well-established commitment for advancing the rights of persons with disabilities, and noted that later this year, the UN Secretary-General would issue a first-ever flagship report on disability and development, to serve as a baseline for situation of and policies for persons with disabilities in the context of realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Global Disability Summit is a timely opportunity for the international community to identify the situation and explore opportunities to accelerate the progress for inclusion and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities in all development and humanitarian efforts. Thus, it is critical to ensure effective implementation of the existing mechanisms such as the 2030 Agenda and other global development goals, and to address cross-sectoral linkages and challenges for inclusive and sustainable development by, for and with persons with disabilities.

 Persons with disabilities play a football game in Kayunga District, Uganda.

Photo credit: UNICEF/Rebecca Vassie

RI Global: Around the World

RI joined Disability Pride Parade, which took place in New York on 15 July. The theme of this year’s parade is Creativity, celebrating the inclusion, awareness and visibility of the disability movement and their contribution to the local communities.

Venus Ilagan being interviewed on her thoughts about living in NYC with a disability.


Special Olympics celebrates 50th anniversary in Chicago, U.S.A. Since 1968, Special Olympics has been changing attitudes about the talents of persons with intellectual disabilities. A series of events took place in Chicago during 17-22 July to celebrate 50 years of creating a more inclusive world for all through sports. RI member, USICD’s Executive Director, Isabel Hodge, was invited as an honored guest to the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics event and the lighting ceremony of the new Eternal Flame of Hope at Soldier Field in Chicago. The memorial was created by artist Richard Hunt and symbolizes the hope Special Olympics athletes bring to all corners of the globe.

Special Olympics celebrates 50th anniversary in Chicago, U.S.A.


National Disability Services (Australia), a founding partner of the National Disability and Carer Alliance, partnered with Every Australian Counts to roll out forums across Australia. Targeting Federal, state and territory MPs, National Disability Services plans to hold 18 local “Make it Work” forums from August to October 2018, to re-engage with local politicians and re-unify the disability community under the banner of Every Australian Counts.


Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) continued to address key issues facing people with disabilities in Australia in close collaboration with DPO Australia. Most recently, DPO Australia released a set of Position Papers on the progress of disability employment reforms, expressing the grave concerns over the employment for persons with disabilities in the Disability Employment Services reform and the commitment to continue to monitor the progress the government made for persons with disabilities and their engagement in long-term and on-going employment.


Korean Employment Agency for the Disabled, partnered with Korea Land and Housing Cooperation in developing a “job to take care of single elderly at purchase rental houses” for persons with disabilities. It aimed to create new jobs for prime-aged persons with disabilities, a vulnerable group in the labor market, and to expand the provision of welfare service to single older persons.  It also sets an example for social value realization for persons with disabilities through collaboration between public institutions.

DP Hanoi, with the support from the Hanoi Education and Training Department, RI Korea and the Hanoi University of Technology, held an ICT Challenge for teenagers with disabilities in Hanoi, Viet Nam on 26 July, in line with the upcoming 2018 Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities to be held in November this year in New Delhi, India.

Global ICT Challenge for teenagers with disabilities in Hanoi, Viet Nam



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


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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