On 15 October, 2010, The European Commission organized the workshop "Making EC Development Cooperation Inclusive of Persons with Disabilities" in Brussels. The purposes of the workshop were to disseminate the findings of the study on Disability and EC Development cooperation and discuss the study recommendations and exchange experiences regarding the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
IDDC and some of its members were invited to participate in the workshop and make short interventions in the panel discussions.
In late 2009, the Council gave green light to the ratification by the European Community of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The rights recognised in the Convention cover almost all policy fields, including international development cooperation. In this context, the European Commission launched a study on Disability in EC Development Cooperation. The study examined how the concerns of persons with disabilities had been taken into account in the cooperation and provided a set of recommendations on measures to take in order to better reach persons with disabilities and comply with the UN Convention. The study also proposed a revision of the existing 2004 EC Guidance Note on Disability and Development.
The purposes of the workshop "Making EC Development Cooperation Inclusive of Persons with Disabilities" were to disseminate the findings of the study and to exchange experiences in mainstreaming disability concerns among EC services, Member States, civil society, donor agencies and international organisations.
The workshop was opened by Mr. A. Bouratsis, Director of DG EuropeAid, Directorate F. Mr. Bouratsis stated that his Directorate, the Thematic Operations in EuropeAid, had a specific interest in this study. Between 2000 and 2010, the European Commission funded some 450 projects specifically targeting persons with disabilities in over 82 partner countries. Out of these, approximately half were funded from budget lines under the Directorate for Thematic Operations, representing over 90 million Euros.
After the opening speech, the main findings of the study were presented by the three experts, Mr. Peter Coleridge, Mr. Claude Simmonot and Ms. Dominique Steverlynk. The findings and recommendations were then discussed in the panel chaired by Ms. Francesca Mosca, Director of DG EuropeAid Directorate E, with the participation of Mr. Luis Riera Figuera (Director of DG Development, Directorate B), Ms. Inmaculada Placencia Porrero (DG EMPL), Mr. Mohammed El Khadiri (Président de l'Amicale Marocaine des Handicapés, & Président du Collectif pour la Promotion des Droits des Personnes en Situation de Handicap) and Mr. Johannes Trimmel (Vice Chair, International Disability and Development Consortium, IDDC).
The panel highlighted the importance of including disability issues in policy dialogue and complying with the UN Convention on Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Although no policy document on disability and development is foreseen in the near future, it was emphasised that the new EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 would give guidance for the external cooperation as well. Furthermore, the speakers stressed the importance of updating the Guidance Note on disability in order to give practical advice to EC headquarters and EU delegations on how to ensure EU development cooperation is inclusive and in line with the CRPD.
The afternoon session focused on discussions on how to implement Art. 32 of the CRPD. This session was facilitated by Ms. Catherine Naughton, Director of CBM EU Liaison Office. The first theme discussed mainstreaming and making development inclusive through a specific focus on Tanzania. Mr. Coleridge gave a short overview of the findings of the field mission in Tanzania and examples of EU support to disability. Mr. Dickson Mveyange, Executive Director (Tanzania Association of the Deaf) shared information on practical examples of how donors could make development inclusive.
The second theme concentrated on supporting the national efforts for the implementation of the UNCRPD. Mr. Samphors Vorn, Programme Coordinator for Cambodia and Regional Coordination Office, Aide et Action, South East Asia and Mr. Prasanna Kuruppu, Vice President Sri Lanka Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (SLFRD) focused on the developments in their respective countries and gave practical examples of how the national efforts for the implementation of the UN Convention could be supported. Ms. Lensu gave a comprehensive outline of different tools and actions that the European Commission and EU Delegations can use in order to address any form of discrimination. Finally Mr. Claude Simmonot shared light on the issue from civil society point of view.
For the full minutes of the workshop and list of participants, please download here.