On the 7th June EUD attended an event on “The inclusion of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the European Union” organised by the Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament and the European Disability Forum. The event was hosted by ember of European Parliament Olga Sehnalová, co-President of the Disability Intergroup, and moderated by Catherine Naughton, Director of the European Disability Forum. The Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament, in collaboration with the European Disability Forum, gathered experts and Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to talk about their roles in realising the SDGs at a European level. The link between the SDGs and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) was also explained in greatdetail.
In September 2015 a new sustainable development agenda was adopted by 193 world leaders to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity while “leaving no one behind”. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development enshrines 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. The 2030 Agenda along the SDGs are very inclusive of persons with disabilities with disability being mentioned 19 times on issues relative to data collection, education, work, inequalities, accessibility, justice and more. For the first time in history Member States have clearly committed to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in the context of a global agreement addressing everyone.
The European Union has a critical role to play in successfully achieving the SDGs by 2030. It was highlighted that the EU must publish an overarching EU strategy/framework to promote political coherence and coordination while actively including persons with disabilities and other groups at risk of marginalisation. At the European level, the EU must be a leader with a clear and inclusive 2030 Agenda implementation plan, with targets and a timeline. It is crucial that the EU invests in capacity-building and awareness-raising so that European citizens know about the SDGs. The link between the SDGs and the UN CRPD was also discussed. The human rights agenda, including the UN CRPD, must be reflected in all regional and national work to align with the 2030 Agenda.
MEP Olga Sehnalová highlighted that it is necessary for EU institutions to work together with civil society and national governments to realize the SDGs on European and national levels. Patrizia Heidegger, Director of Global Policies and Sustainability for SDG Watch Europe, noted that SDGs must become a political priority at the European level. The EU must develop a holistic implementation plan and a clear and inclusive indicator set to track and measure progress. Victoria Lee, Programme Manager from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) presented the project that the OHCHR is carrying out with the European Commission to develop a matrix and a toolkit which will explain the link between the SDGs and the UNCRPD.
The EUD will continue to follow the implementation of the SDGs at European level and will inform its members on actions that will need to be taken at the national level.