Evidence based programmes for disability inclusion to support participatory system and policy change

Global Disability Summit (GDS) Satellite Event- “Evidence based programmes for disability inclusion: The UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) Multi Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) innovative approach to support participatory system and policy change".

February 3, 2022

Dreams Academy in Turkey is a volunteer-based space for socialization where every summer, dreams of hundreds of teenagers with disabilities and disadvantages come true. Physical activities include nature walks, diving, parachute, swimming and morning exercises. The academy was brought into existence to support disadvantaged teenagers in their engagement in social and professional life, supported by Alternative Life Association (AYDER) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with Turkey Vodafone Foundation grant.

UNDP Turkey

Excellencies, friends and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to deliver the opening remarks for this Global Disability Summit satellite event.

UNDP led the conceptualization and operationalization of the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) in 2011, and since then has been hosting the Technical Secretariat of the UNPRPD and is its current Policy Board Chair.

As Chair of the Policy Board of the UNPRPD MPTF, let me begin by expressing our gratitude: to the Technical Secretariat of the UNPRPD and all colleagues from UN partner agencies and our partner organizations for their efforts in the organization of this event; to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, as longstanding donors of the UNPRPD Trust Fund, for co-sponsoring the event; and also I would like thank the panelists joining us to advance the conversation around evidence-based programming for disability inclusion and the progressive realization of the rights of persons with disabilities.

Through more than 30 joint programmes globally, UNDP and UNPRPD have generated significant changes towards a more inclusive society, and witnessed the steps forward made in the disability inclusion landscape since the establishment of the UNPRPD in 2011.

Yet countries still struggle to transform the provision of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) into concrete policies, systems and services. Understanding what the main bottlenecks and priorities are in each country in relation to the fulfilment of the CRPD is a key initial step to overcome this difficulty. We also need to understand who the key stakeholders are, what capacities they may need to improve, and what ongoing development processes need to become more disability inclusive.

A stronger emphasis on evidence generation, learning, and the need for situational analyses is what drives the UNPRPD’s new Strategic Operational Framework (SOF) for 2020-2025. These analyses should focus on the essential “pre-conditions” that are indispensable for addressing the needs and opportunities of people with disabilities in public policy making and programming across all sectors.

The UNPRPD has also developed a Guidance Tool for Conducting Situation County Analysis of the rights of persons with disabilities that is currently being rolled out in 26 countries.

The Guidance Tool builds on a human rights-based understanding of change, where empowerment and participation of persons with disabilities and their families are seen as key pre-conditions, along with sufficient capacity and authority of duty bearers to fulfil their obligations to advance the rights of persons with disabilities.

UNDP, on behalf of the UNCT, has led the UNPRPD situation analysis in 11 of the 26 countries. And the findings are telling:

In Guatemala, the Analysis highlighted significant challenges related to poor capacity of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities to drive the implementation of the CRPD. UNDP, together with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Population Fund, will therefore implement capacity development activities in order to create an independent and capable institutional mechanism to supervise the progressive achievement of the CRPD.

In Rwanda, the Analysis allowed to identify challenges related to limited participation of OPDs in the planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of national programs. UNDP, with UNICEF and UN Women as partner agencies, will therefore work build the capacity of national stakeholders to jointly develop, implement, monitor and evaluate disability inclusion programs guided by CRPD and SDGs.

Not any evidence, but inclusive evidence, gathered through inclusive, accessible processes, should serve as basis for CRPD-oriented country programming and decision making.

As we approach the Global Disability Summit, I would also like to stress that the pledge we will bring forward during the 2022 GDS will ensure continuity with the commitments made by UNDP at the 2018 GDS, while accounting for the challenges of persons with disabilities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the words of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “upholding the rights of people with disabilities is not only a moral imperative, but also a recognition of rights and a practical necessity if we are to build sustainable societies”.

I would like to end by thanking once again all the colleagues behind the organization of this event and for facilitating the discussion around this crucial theme.

I wish you all a fruitful discussion. Thank you.

Upholding the rights of people with disabilities is not only a moral imperative, but also a recognition of rights and a practical necessity if we are to build sustainable societies.

UN Secretary General, António Guterres