The WBU was represented at the 7th COSP to the CRPD by WBU President Arnt Holte, 1st Vice President Fredric Schroeder, Immediate Past President Maryanne Diamond and CEO Penny Hartin. Maryanne Diamond was officially part of the International Disability Alliance delegation as IDA Vice Chair and incoming Chair, effective July 2014. The COSP was preceded by a Civil Society Forum on June 9th and the WBU hosted a side event on the Marrakesh Treaty on November 11th.
While the WBU delegation was small, it is fair to say that our presence was significant and visible. There were a significant number of blind and partially sighted persons present at the event as part of government or civil society delegations. It was reported that 147 countries have now ratified the UNCRPD; there was also a commitment to hear from civil society as well as governments and that commitment was upheld.
A key theme throughout the Civil Society Forum and the COSP related to the importance of inclusion of disability in the goals and targets of the Post 2015 development agenda.
- Main Conclusions from the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Process
- Aligning national, regional and global conversations
- Forging Partnerships: Building Alliances with other vulnerable groups, including women, children, youth, Aging and indigenous peoples
- Looking Ahead: a roadmap for advocacy to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development framework and concrete asks
During the COSP, a special roundtable was held on incorporating the provisions of CRPD in the post 2015 development agenda. Representatives from relevant UN Departments gave the status of the Post 2015 agenda, key provisions in the Open Working Group report and milestones to September 2015 at which time the current MDGs will end.
Some of the key messages heard throughout the 4 days included the following:
- The need to push for inclusion of disability in the new development agenda and targets.
- The need for disaggregated data that includes disaggregation by disability; a quote that was frequently repeated: “if we are not counted then we don’t count”
- The importance of engaging with national governments to advocate for disability inclusion in the final version of the new development agenda.
Therefore it will be critical to engage and advocate with national governments over the course of the next year to ensure disability inclusion and disaggregated data. Since most governments who presented during the COSP sessions emphasized the importance of disability inclusion in the Post 2015 agenda, these presentations can be used as part of our advocacy strategies.
We had a number of panelists who focused on the need for countries to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty and how the treaty related to the implementation of the UNCRPD. The session was moderated by Fredric Schroeder on behalf of Arnt Holte and specific presentations included:
- Maryanne Diamond – Chair WBU Right to Read Campaign and Immediate Past President WBU – Why we need a treaty, what it is and what it means for persons who are blind or partially sighted
- Senator Kerryann Ifill – Consultant/Facilitator Technology Services for the Blind/Visually Impaired, Barbados – What the treaty means for blind or partially sighted persons living in developing countries
- Martin Babu Mwesigwa – CRPD Committee Member – The linkage between the Marrakesh Treaty and the CRPD
- Geidy Lung – Senior Counsellor, WIPO Copyright Law Division – How the Marrakesh Treaty fits with other WIPO treaties and what WIPO is doing to have it ratified
- Ambassador Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota – Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations – The role of a champion member state in the development of the Marrakesh Treaty and the importance and urgency of member states ratifying it
- Scott C. LaBarre – Lead, North America Treaty Ratification Campaign – What the United States is doing to progress the ratification of the Treaty
For further information about the Conference of States Parties, access to webcasts and documents, please see the UN Enable website