3 memorable moments from my trip to COSP

Stories | September 11, 2017

I recently had the privilege of attending the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP) at the United Nations in New York.

This is the world’s largest meeting on disability and brings together hundreds of representatives from disabled people’s organisations, civil society, governments, and non-government organisations like CBM.

I met many wonderful people who are just as passionate as you and I about ending the cycle of poverty and disability.

There were some particular highlights that I’d like to share…

Seeing CBM’s impact recognised

CBM’s work in responding to the 2015 Nepal Earthquake was highlighted in one of the key papers presented at COSP. I was encouraged to see our work represented as good practice for working with partners (we were one of a handful of organisations mentioned!), noting how fast we reached people with disabilities and enabled them to be included in the recovery process. I felt proud to be working for an organisation that is doing amazing things!

Building local capacity

We talked a lot about working with local partners and building their capacity, and again I was proud of CBM’s work in this area.

CBM made it possible for a passionate young self-advocate with disability, Risna Utami, to attend the meeting on behalf of Indonesian disabled people’s organisations. Risna says that because of this global advocacy opportunity at a UN level, she now has a strong influence in her government and that the top level – the Presidential Office – now trusts her and wants to make Indonesia more inclusive of people with disabilities. Risna is actively involved in national level work, including writing policy and legislation, while also advising CBM Indonesia on their disability inclusion work.

Risna shared with me that without the support of CBM, she and would not have been able to have such an impact.

Because CBM sees the value in training and building capacity, Risna is ensuring people with disabilities in Indonesia have a strong voice for the future.

Reaching people with disability

There was a lot of discussion about recognising the ‘invisible’. It’s estimated that one in seven people in the world have a disability and that this number is much higher – at one in five – in the poorest places. However in many countries, the national census is not equipped to count the incidence of disability.

This means that many peoples’ experiences of disability and its barriers are erased, and this means governments have no way of telling exactly how many people are living with disability in their communities.

CBM’s core work is centered on ensuring that people with disability are included and not left behind, and that’s why we support the growing momentum for better data. This will ensure that the needs of people with disabilities can be met. In 2016 alone, CBM Australia, with our partners, reached more than 7 million people through supporting more than 630,000 people with or at risk of disability and providing preventative medication for eye diseases to over 6.5 million people.

CBM’s work is only possible through your support, and I am so grateful that you partner with us to bring about incredible change… like the examples I’ve just shared!

With peace and thanks,


Photo: Jane, with Risna Utami, a passionate self-advocate for disability from Indonesia.

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