This week, DAI member, Professor Mary Radnofsky is representing us at the United Nations in New York City. Her commitment and hard work as a fairly new DAI member is appreciated and we thank her for her support and wish to be involved in not only things like our cafes and support groups, but with the advocacy required to make real and sustainable change.
Many of our members also work as very active advocates in their own areas which helps to create change, and there are far too many to list here today – another blog to feature them is currently in progress.
These are Mary’s notes from Day 1 at the United Nations:
I’m at the UN!!
And I’ve already asked a question in the forum, met many key people, and found my way around.
I arrived in New York 7am, took the “Airtrain” to Jamaica, then the E train to Lexington Ave, and walked to the registration center off-site; I presented my UN letter, got my credentials, and walked across the street on a bright sunny morning, straight in to the UN.
So here I am. This is the “Civil Society CRPD Forum.” It is a “Side event” of the “UN Council of States Parties.”
I’m in the first two sessions — the high-level political forum on the participation of persons with disabilities as stakeholders, and practical steps towards implementation. At the end of the panelists’ statements, I was able to introduce myself as a member of DAI, and de facto as a person with dementia, then to ask a question, “How can persons living with dementia specifically, participate in the decision making processes as well as in the implementation of these strategies, becoming members of committees and active participants?”
The panel had the choice to respond to whichever questions they chose. One response was that we join advocacy organizations, linked to larger networks, and work on larger projects together. No one else addressed the question.
The Ugandan, Med Ssengooba, spoke only of very traditional disabilities (blind, deaf, albinos). He said IDA has provided a toolkit. Now the Hi Level Forum provides room to reflect. The govt needs to think about those people other than the obvious groups.
I was encouraged to advise to our members and leaders that DAI join IDA.
There was next a focus on women being underrepresented in organizations, especially disabled women. A question came up about people with disabilities being more than 60% in rural areas.
Questions about caregivers were also raised, and ongoing discrimination against women with disabilities in Africa, people with communication difficulties, etc.
There are many different facets of the question of how to create a sustainable development agenda, by taking into account the rights of people with disabilities. They say they must take care to always ask themselves, who have they not included?
In many of the short speeches, panelists speak only generally about the importance and need to respect human rights for people with disabilities.
The Australian representative made a statement encouraging the panel to continue as they’ve been doing, and Tim Wainwright, the chair, acknowledged Australia as co-chair in the GLAD process.
Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, chair of the CRPD, spoke about Goal 33 of the CRPD, organizations’ participations. How have they committed to participating?
Mohammed Ali Loufty – said that in the last 20 years, there have been a lot of great steps in civil society to recognize the CRPD. Advocacy has improved, and inclusion programs have increased. One great achievement, the 2030 sustainable development goals. But the era of implementation is a new journey on its own. Much work for the next 15 years.
“There is a need for further inclusion of people with disabilities at all levels of international development. This is true. PWD remain the poorest of the poor…
The world is lacking many achievements forward in all spheres of development. The involvement of pwd is a must, and should be a must… There is a difference between the North and the South. Governments have done a lot, but there is still a lot to do… More disclosure of information…”
“Governments should be more humble; they must include pwd, because they are the experts on the conditions of their lives.”
Talk to you again soon.