On the 13th of March 2019, EUD followed the webinar ‘Key messages to be delivered at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF)’ organised by the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities for Sustainable Development, the focal point for UNDESA, ECOSOC and the GA for all UN Sustainable Development policies. The HLPF follows-up and reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global level. During the HLPF, discussions with government representatives take place on the progress of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals on the national level. This year, the implementation of Quality Education (SDG4); Decent work and economic growth (SDG8); Reduced Inequalities (SDG10); Climate Action (SDG13); Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG16) and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG17) will be reviewed by the United Nations. In July.
During the HLPF the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities for Sustainable Development will deliver a message for the government representatives. The webinar was an opportunity to share with key messages that will be delivered at the HLPF on behalf of Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities. Mary Keogh, Director of Disability Inclusive Development Initiative at CBM international, and Venkatesh Balakrishna, Honorary President of the Community-Based Rehabilitation Global Network highlighted that it will be emphasised that persons with disabilities cannot be overlooked while fining solutions to implement SDG 13. Moreover, the disaster management cycle must be disability inclusive and the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) must support the development of policies and plans that address the challenges of climate change.
The inclusive and quality education and life-long learning opportunities are fundamental for people with disabilities. Sian Tesni, Senior Advisor Education at CBM added that this must be highlighted during the HLPF. Mrs Tesni noted that children with disabilities are among the most marginalised and in order to achieve SDG4 systemic reforms must take place and adequate budget must be allocated.
Nathan Rowe, Capacity Development Officer at Down Syndrome International, addressed the topic of employment. He highlighted that employment rates of people with disabilities are much lower than of persons without disabilities. People with disabilities also often received lower wages. The factors that restrict access to meaningful employment are stigmatization, discrimination, lack of reasonable accommodation, inaccessible work environment. During the HLPF it must be highlighted that countries should recognise the denial of reasonable accommodation as a form of discrimination, encourage an inclusive work environment and develop links between people with disabilities and employers.
Elizabeth Lockwood, CBM Representative at the United Nations, discussed the inequality reduction. The lack of measurable disaggregated data on disability type make it impossible to track the advancements in reducing inequalities for different groups of people with disabilities. Certain groups of people with disabilities, e.g. deaf women face intersectional barriers.
All the key messages presented by the contributors during the webinar are included in the submission paper and it will represent the voice of people with disabilities worldwide during the HLPF. EUD will follow the HLPF online in July this year.