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13th session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN CRPD

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13th session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) took place on 30 November 2020, 1 and 3 December 2020. On the 30thof November in-person meetings were held for the opening of the conference and for the election of the new UN CRPD Committee members. Later, on the 1 and 3 December virtual meetings took place were EUD followed roundtable discussions, the interactive dialogue with the UN system and the closing of the conference. 

In his opening remarks, Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected communities and societies at their very core and deepened pre-existing inequalities, therefore securing the rights of persons with disabilities is more important than ever. Mr. Guterres highlighted that only by working together – governments, UN entities, civil society, including also the organisations of persons with disabilities, the private sector and communities of experts – can we ensure inclusive recovery and continue effectively implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and tackle the obstacles, the injustices and the discrimination that persons with disabilities experience. 

An over-arching theme of the COSP this year was ‘A decade of action and delivery for inclusive sustainable development: implementing the CRPD and the 2030 Agenda for all persons with disabilities. Mr. Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities emphasised that by focusing on systematic change across a broad range of domains the Sustainable Development Goals give a powerful impetus to the UN CRPD.  Mr Quinn highlighted that both instruments are equally important and relevant for persons with disabilities as they can pave the way to reach out the ones left furthest behind.  

Three roundtable discussions were held throughout the conference. During the first roundtable on disability and business where the importance of realising the right to work in open, inclusive and accessible environments was discussed. As an intervention for this topic prepared a submission and highlighted that inaccessible working environments that do not

embrace diversity are not only against the legal obligations stemming from the UN CRPD, but they also prevent further economic and sustainable growth. Therefore, securing a structural shift towards an inclusive, accessible and innovative economic and business models is in the interest of us all, as it will strengthen economies and build more resilient societies. EUD also actively participated in the discussion on addressing the rights and needs of older persons with disabilities and promoting Inclusive environments for the full implementation of the UN CRPD. 

Importantly, during the 13th session of COSP the election of the new UN CRPD Committee Members took. There are nine positions on the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which will become vacant on 31 December 2020 and needs to be filled. 

The individuals who were elected to fill eight of the nine positions on the Committee are:

Table

Upon receipt of the results, a subsequent round of restricted balloting was necessary and will take place in December 2020. States parties will decide among the following 2 candidates:

 

table 2

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