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The International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and its members aim to promote inclusive development. Inclusive development means respecting the full human rights of every person, acknowledging diversity, eradicating poverty and ensuring that all people are fully included and can actively participate in development processes and activities regardless of age, gender, disability, health status, ethnic origin or any other characteristic.

Several of its member organisations work in the area of education in low-middle-income-countries, and we form the Inclusive Education Task Group. As such we are concerned that the zero draft of the political declaration of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) does not mention education. 

Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) – the global goal on quality education for all – is one of six goals under review at the HLPF. Whilst we fully recognise that the political declaration is not intended to focus on individual goals, we do believe it is important to mention education alongside the other commitments we have made between now and 2030. 

We are currently not on target to achieve SDG 4, and one of the reasons is that some groups within society, including persons with disabilities, are consistently being left behind and there is little evidence that enough of a focus will be put on this issue to turn this around, before 2030. Therefore, commitment to education at the highest political levels is crucial at this time.  

Across the world, we know that at least 32 million children with disabilities of primary-lower secondary school age are out of school. Children facing multiple, compounding and intersecting disadvantages such as poverty, gender and disability fare even worse. It is critical that education is therefore referenced in the zero draft.

As IDDC, we endorse the recommendations suggested to change specific text in the Zero Draft, as given by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) as part of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities

  1. Paragraph 4: please spell out who are the vulnerable in line with existing language in the 2030 Agenda on “women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities”;
  2. Paragraph 6: should include a reference to education;
  3. Paragraph 10: Civil Society is mentioned here in relation to cross-sector collaboration. Could another sentence be added: “Major Groups and other Stakeholders are critically involved in the implementation, monitoring, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the High-level Political Forum itself”;
  4. Paragraph 12: we would like to see persons with disabilities spelled out and recognized among those, who contribute to the implementation of the SDGs. Particularly because persons with disabilities, despite being among the poorest and most vulnerable, engage in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs;
  5. Paragraph 12: language on reducing space for civil society is missing, and this is a serious challenge for SDG implementation. We would recommend language, in line with target 17.17, that “greater engagement is needed to ensure civil society partnerships are able to build on national experience and resourcing strategies’;
  6. Paragraph 13: after countries, please add ‘and stakeholders’;
  7. Paragraph 14: should have a recognition of the role stakeholders play in the VNRs, not only at the national, but regional and global levels. Suggestion: continue the last sentence with “…, and the contribution of the Major Groups and other Stakeholders”;
  8. Paragraph 23: we would like to have a reference on disaggregation of data in line with the 2030 Agenda; and
  9. We would like to see an additional commitment to reform the follow-up and review mechanisms of the 2030 Agenda (based on the HLPF and the Regional Fora) and enable the effective participation of the Major Groups and other Stakeholders in the implementation of the SDGs at the local, national, regional and global levels.