На 9th of July 2021, EUD attended a webinar organised by the SGPwD. The event was entitled ‘Building an inclusive and effective path for civil society engagement in the High-Level Political Forum’. Its aim was to discuss how NGOs, DPOs and other organisations can could strengthen their work nationally and internationally to advance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in relation to persons with disabilities.
Martyna Balciunaite, EUD’s Policy Officer, presented the advocacy work of the Regional Constituency of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). During the presentation, Ms Balciunaite provided insight into how the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Europe was made more accessible for persons with disabilities after Constituency’s of Persons with Disabilities advocacy efforts , e.g. by ensuring provision of sign language interpretation for deaf participants. Ms Balciunaite said that ‘ensuring accessibility for persons with disabilities is an obligation, not a choice. ’
Mohammad Loufiy, Co-chair of the SGPwD and interim executive director for Disabled People International, stated that many organisations of persons with disabilities became sources of vital information, raised awareness among their members, and provided accessible materials on COVID-19 in different formats. Mr Loufiy praised the advocacy efforts of deaf communities in bringing sign language interpreters and live captioning to their governments’ COVID-19 public news briefings.
This event was an excellent opportunity to learn about how organisations within the disability rights movement are advocating for accessibility in different parts of the world. The event provided some concrete examples of advocating for accessibility for the deaf community, e.g. at national and global levels.