COSP: Full Participation of PWD?

COSP is comingCOSP is coming. The UN will soon hold an important international meeting to advance the rights of people with disabilities (PWD). The 10th session of the Conference of State Parties (COSP) to the human rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) aims to build on the work that has been done during the last ten years. It will involve governments, UN agencies and civil society organisations, even some that represent those most affected and most in need of the implementation of the CRPD treaty.

Because I am a woman with a disability, this meeting is important. Since I believe that PWD must not be excluded from participating in decisions others make about our health and well being, the COSP is also a step in the right direction because a few PWD can have a say. It could be a giant step in the right direction if the civil society representation was fully accountable to the community and defended our interests, not their own. But, we will get there one day.

I am curious about what this meeting will do to improve our lives. So to provide further information, below is the blurb from the UN. I will try to follow the meeting by internet and write more on what is happening in New York, for all of us not able to be there.

Beginning a second decade to advance the rights of persons with disabilities

With over 1 billion people living with some form of disability in the world today, they are the world’s largest minority. As the world is moving forward with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community has made a commitment to include everyone in society and development; which includes mobilizing support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

The Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is one of the largest and most diverse international disability meetings in the world. The 10th session of the COSP, held from 13 to 15 June 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York, takes place as States embark on the second decade in the implementation of the CRPD. States continue to take action to affect improvements in their national legislation, and are adopting and implementing policies and practices that work towards an inclusive and sustainable society that leaves no one behind.

The United Nations and its Member States recognize the central role that persons with disabilities must play in multi-stakeholder partnerships for achieving the SDGs and implementing the CRPD. This year’s main theme is “The Second Decade of the CRPD: Inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the implementation of the Convention”.

The themes of the COSP’s round table discussions will focus on; addressing the impact of multiple discrimination on persons with disabilities and promoting their participation and multi-stakeholder partnerships for achieving the SDGs in line with the CRPD; the inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action; and promoting inclusive urban development and implementation of the New Urban Agenda – Habitat III. At this year’s COSP, high-level representation includes over 40 ministerial-level participants who will speak in the general debate and other thematic discussions during the session.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said that making global development inclusive of people with disabilities “must be an enhanced priority”. The ultimate goal of this COSP is to explore ways and means of creating enabling conditions for inclusive development and to make a difference in the lives of over a billion persons with disabilities on the ground.