TO: GPDD PARTNERS
FROM: GPDD SECRETARIAT
SUBJECT: PROMOTING THE MAINSTREAMING OF DISABILITY IN THE MDGs
The General Assembly’s sixty-third session is taking place at the UN headquarters in New York. This session marks a special occasion to highlight the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and a number of consultations and events examining multiple dimensions of MDG activities are taking place throughout the week. This presents a unique opportunity for all concerned stakeholders to advocate for the inclusion of disability in the MDGs.
Since the GA Plenary may discuss this issue from October 6 to 8, immediate action is essential. For this reason, the Secretariat of the Global Partnership for Disability and Development is:
1) Circulating a letter to UN Missions and Foreign Affairs Offices of Member States requesting Member States to make interventions and support a resolution in favor of mainstreaming disabilities in the MDGs.
2) Encouraging advocates and activists to phone, fax, or e-mail relevant government officials in their countries.
3) Sending an advisory to relevant media outlets.
We request your support in these actions as well as your suggestions.
Your ideas and participation will make a difference! A sample letter and relevant contact information are attached for your use.
FYI, a copy of the Secretary-General’s report on mainstreaming disability in monitoring and evaluation of MDGs conducted as part of the Fifth quinquennial review and appraisal of the World Program of Action concerning Disabled Persons and a short summary are attached, as well.
Maria Verónica Reina
Disability advocates may wish to use this sample letter as inspiration when writing to the UN Mission Office for your country, or when writing to the Foreign Affairs office in your country. Find the full list of UN Mission offices, with the relevant contact information, at http://www.un.org/members/missions.shtml. Search the website for your government to locate the contact information for your country’s equivalent of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Dear Mr./Ms. Minister of Foreign Affairs (or Head of Delegation):
As members of the Disability and Development community, we want to encourage your government to play a substantive and active role in favor of mainstreaming Disability in the Millennium Development Goals (during the fifth review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action (A/63/183) which will be reviewed by the GA during its 63rd session (6-8 October under Social Development). The report was envisaged as a contribution to reinforcing the disability perspective in reviews of the progress made, and challenges encountered, in implementing the MDGs as requested by GA resolution 62/127.
Mainstreaming disability in the MDGs will help to ensure that no one is excluded from the processes of global development. In view of the enforcement of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, new and concerted efforts should be made in order to accomplish the advancement of persons with disability in the context of development. It is important to note the importance of promoting universal design, the design of products, environments, programmes, and services which are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Such increased accessibility benefits all members of society, not only persons with disabilities. Simultaneously, it is also relevant to state that disability specific programs addressing MDG concerns are also needed to guarantee the full inclusion of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.
For these reasons, we respectfully urge you to promote a resolution on mainstreaming disability in the MDGs during the fifth review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action at the 63rd Session of the GA.
Summary Fifth review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons (A/63/183)
The full Fifth quinquennial review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, referred to in Maria Verónica Reina’s letter, was too long to publish here. But someone also disseminated a shorter summary which is provided below.
The fifth review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action (A/63/183) will be reviewed by the General Assembly during its 63rd session(6-8 October under social development)The report was envisaged as a contribution to reinforcing the disability perspective in reviews of progress and challenges encountered in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as requested by General Assembly resolution 62/127. The resolution also requested the Secretary-General to present proposed updates of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons which were summarized in Annex I to the report. The report also presents Annex II, “Millennium Development Goals: Mainstreaming Disability”, which presents practical guidance on the inclusion of disability in the processes of the MDGs.
The principal issue addressed in the fifth review and appraisal is the emergence of a “new normative and policy architecture” on the advancement of persons with disabilities within the context of development. This architecture comprises the broad policy framework of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons (for policy formulation, planning and development); the tactical guidance for States of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities; and the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which are legally binding for States parties, and is discussed in the section “International Disability Architecture”.
A second point of importance within the report is the emergence, of regional action plans and programmes on the advancement of persons with disabilities, which reflect needs and priorities of the respective regional actors and their complementary relationship to the international architecture.
A third point addresses the processes of the MDGs and focuses on options suggested in the architecture to ensure that no one is excluded from the processes of global development.
A fourth point within the report discusses the expanded constituencies for the advancement of persons with disabilities. As the median global age is on the rise, disability will have major policy implications because the prevalence of disabilities tends to be higher among older persons. The new constituencies represent important agents in a new and concerted effort as part of a disability-sensitized community to the advancement of persons with disability in the context of development. It is important to note the importance of promoting universal design, the design of products, environments, programmes and services which are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Such increased accessibility benefits all members of society, not only persons with disabilities.
The fifth, point, is the need for a single, comprehensive biennial review of progress and obstacles in implementing a global strategy for disability-inclusive development. This unified report on the new disability architecture could facilitate substantive exchange and learning from the findings and recommendations of the CRDP treaty body once established, within the context of development.
Annex I to the Fifth review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action – Updates to the World Programme of Action
Annex I discusses the issue of the updating of the World Programme of Action, as requested by General Assembly resolution 62/127.
The report recommends that the General Assembly endorse a plan to develop a Global Strategy toward Disability-Inclusive Development 2010-2015, through regional consultations and contributions from experts. These strategic guidelines could be developed based on the complementarities and synergies of three disability-specific instruments, namely the World Programme of Action, the Standard Rules and the Convention, and could incorporate updates proposed by Member States. There are existing regional guidelines for disability action in the context of development that could provide a basis for the development of a global strategy.
Annex II to the Fifth review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action – Millennium Development Goals: Mainstreaming Disability
Annex II provides a selection of examples and guidelines for mainstreaming disability in the MDGs and includes possible indicators to include disability in the monitoring of progress in achieving MDGs.
This call for action, and the associated materials, was recently circulated in several different locations including the IDA_CRPD_Forum and the GPDD mailing list.
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Rehabilitation International’s publication, International Rehabilitation Review, has published a special edition focused on promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). People with disabilities, advocates, disability experts, and human rights experts, all contributed 20 articles to the December 2007, 48-page edition.
The CRPD is the first comprehensive international legislation to focus on protecting the human rights of people with disabilities. It needs to be ratified by 20 countries before it will take full legal force; it has now been ratified by 17 countries.
Several of these articles celebrate the heavy involvement of the disability community and various disability and human rights organizations in promoting the CRPD. Other articles discuss the relevance of the CRPD to themes such as promoting inclusive education; including people with disabilities in programs to prevent HIV/AIDS; the importance of habilitation and rehabilitation to empowerment; and how the CRPD may help countries bring more people with disabilities into the work force.
Some more examples of articles included in the December 2007 issue of the International Rehabilitation Review include the following:
An article entitled “A Unified Disability Community: The Key to Effective Implementation of the Convention” by Maria Veronica Reina and Stefan Tromel highlights the importance of people with disabilities themselves being actively involved in ensuring that the CRPD actively protects the human rights of disabled people around the world.
Author Ann M. Veneman discusses the importance of children with disabilities in the CRPD in her article, “The UN Disability Rights Convention: Moving Children with Disabilities Center Stage.”
Of particular relevance to We Can Do readers in the international development field is the article “Toward Inclusive Development: The Implementation Challenge,” by Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo. This article calls for country governments and development organizations to incorporate the principles of the CRPD into their plans, programs, and policies, including those that fight poverty.
Anne Hawker and Sebenzile Matsebula discuss the importance of mobilizing women with disabilities to successfully implementing the CRPD in “Women with Disabilities: A Call to Action.”
In some countries, people with certain disabilities are denied the right to open their own bank account, or to say “no” to medical treatment that they don’t want. Article 12 of the CRPD can help, says Tina Minkowitz in her article, “Legal Capacity: Fundamental to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
Once the CRPD takes legal force, then what? Governments will need people with disabilities themselves to monitor how well the CRPD is implemented in their countries. The article “Interational Monitoring: The Right to Inclusion, The Obligation to Participate” by Kirsten Young and Shantha Rau, discusses how.
This special issue of Rehabiliation International’s International Rehabilitation Review can be downloaded in PDF format (1.8 Mb) at
Or you can downlaod it in Word format (233 Kb) at
We Can Do learned about this special issue through RatifyNow.org‘s email discussion list. This article is cross-posted at the RatifyNow.org web site with permission of author. See the RatifyNow website for more information on the CRPD and the global movement to ratify and implement it.
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