Shaping a Resilient Future for All: Advancing Disability Inclusion for Building Resilience
November 17, 2023
05 December 2023
10.00 AM - 12.00 PM CET
Hybrid/In-Person: Room Rhin, International Environment House 2, Chemin de Balexert 7/9, Geneva
We are pleased to invite you to the global advocacy event “Shaping a Resilient Future for All: Advancing Disability Inclusion for Building Resilience” to commemorate the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, organized by the Permanent Mission of Australia, the Permanent Mission of Finland, UN Women, UNICEF, and UNDP. The event will be hybrid, taking place online and in Geneva.
We are coming together to celebrate resilient, disability-inclusive communities and to showcase the role of persons with disabilities as agents of change.
Our distinguished speakers will include representatives from the National Forum of Women with Disabilities in Pakistan, Light for the World, the Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network, European Disability Forum, UN Women, UNICEF, and UNHCR.
Remarks will be offered by H.E. Mrs. Francisca E. Méndez Escobar, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations Office in Geneva, H.E. Mr. Petri Puhakka, Ambassador for Disability Inclusion, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland, H.E. Mr. Jeffrey Roach, charge d’affaires of Australia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, and H.E. Ms. Priyanka Chauhan, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Office in Geneva.
The event will feature an award ceremony of the finalists of the Photo Competition “Change makers in action: Building disability inclusive, resilient communities” sponsored by UNDP and OCHA and moderated by the humanitarian photographer Daniel Hayduk.
Accessibility will be ensured, including venue accessibility, international sign language interpretation, and live captioning.
For more information: Ms. Vanessa Schultz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location directions: Click here to see map.
Ioana Creitaru, Programme Specialist/Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point, Crisis Bureau, UNDP - Facilitator
Ms. Ioana Creitaru is Programme Specialist – Early Warning and Preparedness at UNDP Crisis Bureau, and currently leads the global disaster early warning, preparedness and anticipation portfolio on behalf of the Disaster Risk Reduction for Building Resilience Team. Ioana also serves as the global focal point for disability inclusive disaster risk reduction, having spearheaded the development and launch of UNDP’s Policy Brief "A Resilient Future for All: Advancing Disability Inclusion in Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery for Building Resilience and Leaving No One Behind". Ioana has over fourteen years of experience with UNDP as a climate and disaster risk reduction specialist, is an active SURGE advisor, and holds a PhD degree in development studies awarded for her research on the securitization of climate change.
Agi Veres, Director, UNDP Representation Office, Geneva - Opening remarks
Ms. Agi Veres is the Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva, responsible for UNDP’s external relations and advocacy, as well as UNDP’s Geneva-based policy and programme work.
Prior to this, Ms. Veres served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia (2019-2021), providing leadership, oversight and advisory support to 18 UNDP offices in the Europe and Central Asia region. Before her regional role, Ms. Veres was posted in the People’s Republic of China as UNDP Resident Representative (2018-2019) and Country Director (2015-2018), where she led UNDP’s development programme, as well as engagement on global development cooperation with China. Ms Veres has also served as Deputy Resident Representative (2011-2015), and was assigned to UNDP’s Regional Centre in Bratislava, Slovakia (2006-2011), as Deputy Chief for Policy and Programme, and Senior Programme Coordinator. She started her UNDP career in the New York Headquarters in 2002.
Osnat Lubrani, Acting Director of UN Women, Geneva, and Head of Humanitarian Section - Opening remarks
Ms. Osnat Lubrani is the Acting Director of UN Women Geneva Office, and Head of its Humanitarian Section. She previously served as UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine (2018-2022). Prior to this, Ms. Lubrani served as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for the Republic of Fiji (2013-2018) with multi-country responsibilities for 9 Small Island Development States. Since 2014, she was also designated UN Humanitarian Coordinator for response to several weather-induced and earthquake disasters. Ms. Lubrani served as UN Development Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Kosovo (2009-2013) and previously held several management positions in UNIFEM Headquarters and in the field.
H.E. Francisca E. Méndez Escobar, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva - Keynote remarks
Ms. Méndez Escobar is the Ambassador Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva and has had various positions including Deputy Counselor in the Consulates in Milan and Barcelona and Deputy Head of Mission in Romania, Costa Rica and Spain where she ended her assignment as Chargé affairs for eight months. Previous postings include in Mexico City as Director General for Regional American Organizations, a Special Advisor position to the Deputy Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean on education and private sector, and finally, as Ambassador of Mexico to the United Arab Emirates, from January 2017 to January 2022, covering also Iraq.
H.E. Petri Puhakka, Ambassador for Disability Inclusion, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland - Keynote remarks
Mr. Puhakka is an experienced diplomat at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, a graduate from the Turku School of Economics. He joined the Ministry in 1995 and has served at the Embassy of Finland in Reykjavik, Mission of Finland to NATO, Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN and WTO and Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU. He started in his current position as Ambassador for Disability Inclusion in September 2020 after having served as the Ambassador of Finland to Malaysia covering also the Philippines and Brunei. His position is new at the MFA and it demonstrates Finland´s continuous willingness to engage in disability issues.
H.E. Jeffrey Roach, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva - Panel speaker
Mr. Roach has previously served overseas as Australia’s High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Counsellor (Policy/Media) at the Australian Embassy, France (with accreditation to Algeria and Mauritania) and Second Secretary at the Australian Embassy in Laos. Mr. Roach has held senior positions in within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra working on the Pacific, European Affairs and international disarmament. He seconded to the Department of the Prime Minister and cabinent, where he advised on multilateral issues, and Mr. Roach has also led Australian Government Crisis Response Teams to Nepal, Burkina Fase, Niger and Cyprus/Lebanon.
H.E. Priyanka Chauhan, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva - Panel speaker
Ambassador Priyanka Chauhan is an Indian career diplomat, who joined the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations Office in Geneva as the Deputy Permanent Representative in July 2022. She has earlier served as India’s Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau SARs, as deputy Chief of Staff to the Commonwealth Secretary-General in London, and in the Embassy of India in Madrid. In headquarters, she has served in various capacities in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, including as Head of Finance, and in Divisions handling India’s bilateral relations with US, Canada, Nepal, and Bhutan. She has a graduate degree in architecture from CEPT Ahmedabad, and a postgraduate degree in defence and strategic studies from DSSC Wellington. Before joining Government service, she briefly wrote for India’s leading national daily, The Times of India.
Abia Akram, Disability Rights Activist and Founder of the National Forum of Women with Disabilities in Pakistan - Panel speaker
Ms. Akram is a global campaign ambassador and disability rights activist and has been involved in the disability rights movement since 1997, ensuring that women and girls’ voices are heard. She has been instrumental in leading the disability youth and women’s movement in Pakistan and the Asia-Pacific region more widely. In 2021 she was celebrated as one of the BBC’s top 100 women. She is currently chief executive of the National Forum of Women with Disabilities in Pakistan, global chair for the Global Forum on the Leadership of Women and Girls with Disability, chair of the Asia Pacific Women with Disability Network, CEO of the National Forum of Woman with Disability and project director for the Special Talent Exchange Programme.
Melaku Tekle, Disability Inclusion Advisory Unit Manager at Light for the World in Ethiopia - Panel speaker
Mr. Telke is a highly experienced disability-inclusion and social justice professional with a demonstrated expertise of disability inclusion in health, education, livelihoods, rights, and social protection projects and programs in Ethiopia. His contributions to the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development (ECDD) have been significant, having held positions such as Executive Director and Programs Director for over half a decade.
Coupled with his lived experience of disability and leveraging a background in Social Work, Law, and Development Management, Mr. Telke work focuses on creating high-impact, disability-inclusive development programs. He is co-founder and Vice Chairman of Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities Association (ELDA).
Gunta Anca, Vice President of the European Disability Forum and Chairperson of the Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability Organizations, SUSTENTO - Panel speaker
Ms. Anca is a seasoned disability rights activist with extensive experience. Since 2002, Ms. Anca has chaired the Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability Organisations, SUSTENTO, and is an active member of the European Disability Forum since 2005, currently serving as the organizations vice-president.
Additionally, she has been a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since 2004, focusing on advocating for the rights of people with disabilities in social protection, employment, and accessible transport policy.
Atif Sheikh, Chair of Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network - Panel speaker
Mr. Sheikh, a renowned disability-inclusive development advocate, has been serving for over 20 years. Born with a physical disability, Mr. Sheikh passionately dedicated his life to the empowerment and mainstreaming of persons with disabilities. He is the founder of Pakistan’s largest organization led by persons with disabilities STEP (Special Talent Exchange Program) and The Center for Research on Inclusive Development (CRID). He is on the board of a large number of organizations, networks, think tanks, and technical committees at national and global levels.
Kirstin Lange, Programme Specialist Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action, Disability Section, UNICEF - Panel speaker
Ms. Lange works with UNICEF as a Programme Specialist on disability-inclusive humanitarian action, based in UNICEF’s Geneva Headquarters and providing guidance to UNICEF’s work on disability inclusive humanitarian action globally, including support to UNICEF-led clusters. Ms. Lange is also co-chair of the Disability Reference Group. Between 2014- 2019, she worked with UNHCR, providing technical support on disability inclusion to headquarters, regional and country offices. Prior to these roles, Ms. Lange worked for five years with UN entities and NGOs in both disability inclusion- focused and protection roles in Gaza, Afghanistan, Jordan and Papua New Guinea.
Ricardo Pla Cordero, Protection Officer in the Division of International Protection UNHCR - Panel speaker
Mr. Pla Cordero works as Protection Officer in the Division of International Protection at UNHCR, where he provides technical support on the rights of persons with disabilities and older persons under UNHCR mandate, which includes refugees, asylum seekers, returnees, internally displaced and persons in situations of statelessness. As a development and humanitarian worker, Mr. Pla Cordero has experience in the design, implementation and monitoring of human-rights programming and in the development of policy and guidance on the rights of persons with disabilities and older persons in situations of conflict and disasters.