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Picture collage of IDDC at COSP17

IDDC at COSP17 – the highlights

IDDC Board members and members of the network were delighted to attend the 17th session of the Conference of State Parties (COSP) in New York and linked Civil Society Forum on June 10 – 13, 2024. This was an important COSP, coming months before the Summit of the Future in September and the Global Disability Summit in early 2025. As always, it was a well attended meeting although the UN liquidity crisis made organising side events more costly for civil society organisations to host. Nearly one third of the IDDC membership – 11 members – attended this year’s COSP and many took part in and also led many side events. 

IDDC as a network also had the opportunity to make a number of interventions at the Civil Society Forum, the Global Disability Summit side event, presented its statement in the General Debate and the UNICEF launch event. See below for the recap and key highlights.

  • The role of Civil Society Organisations in crisis – Marit Sørheim, IDDC Board member, intervened on the 2nd theme of the Civil Society Forum where she highlighted, how in a context where crises keep multiplying, coordination and concrete partnerships between Organisations of Persons with Disabilities, Non Governmental Organisations, UN and donors is the only way to ensure dissemination and use of tools, lessons learned, and disability inclusion expertise. 
  • Civil Society Organisations have a key role to play in the Global Disability Summit 2025 – Veronika Hilber, representing IDDC, highlighted the important role that Civil Society Organisations can play in shaping commitments for the Global Disability Summit. We look forward to working with our members over the coming months on this.
  • The recognition of the role of Civil Society Organisations and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities is at the foundation of democratic processes. Mary Keogh, IDDC Chair, highlighted in our intervention to the General Debate that “now more than ever, this role is critical as we face strong headwinds in relation to respecting, promoting and protecting human rights and a closing civil society space. The risk to disability rights within this context is significant, and the specific experience of persons with disabilities must be considered.”
  • Civil Society Organisations and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities can be strong partners on data. IDDC were invited as panel members to UNICEF’s COSP side event – Fostering Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Education. The role of IDDC members was recognised as very important in helping shape UNICEF and the Washington Group’s new tools, which were launched: the Child Functioning Module – Teacher Version and the Inclusive Education Module. UNICEF thanked IDDC members for their support. 

Other important meetings happened in and around COSP and two in particular are worth highlighting. The United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) policy board meeting which detailed the work of the UNPRPD, a look back at 2023 and forward for the coming years. A meeting of member states, CSOs, OPDs and foundation was also convened by the International Disability Alliance, UNPRPD and IDDC to highlight urgent advocacy needed to strengthen the current text of the Pact for the Summit of the Future. Alongside IDA and the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities, we presented on our joint advocacy recommendations and over the coming months we will continue to build on this momentum. 

We cannot conclude this blog without sharing the absence we felt at COSP of our dear colleague, Dr Bhargavi Davar who passed away recently. Throughout her life, she had had a tremendous impact on the lives of persons with disabilities, especially persons with psychosocial disabilities, in India and worldwide and at global events like COSP. Although she will be greatly missed, we find some comfort in knowing that her legacy will survive her passing. All our sympathy goes to her family, colleagues and all close to her.