In 2015 all
196 member countries of the United Nations (UN) adopted the 2030 Agenda and
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and committed to achieving a more equal,
just and sustainable world. These 17 goals
provide a concrete plan and a number of specific targets for action across
areas from ending poverty, ensuring quality and inclusive education, reducing
inequality and taking action on climate change.
the Agenda and SDGs governments also committed to leave no one behind.
Disability inclusion is mentioned across the Agenda and directly covered in
targets under five of the goals – including goal 4 which focusses on education,
goal 8 which focusses on decent work and economic growth and goal 11 on
creating sustainable cities and communities.
To make sure
the UN and member countries can track and report against their progress, each
year the world gathers at the UN in New York for the High Level Political Forum
on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which runs this week
from 09-19 July.
HLPF and why does it matter?
brings together governments, civil society and other key individuals and groups
to monitor and review progress against the SDGs. This happens through a number
of formal processes across the 10 days of the Forum. A key way countries report
progress is through Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). Each country is expected
to report on their progress and this year 47 countries will be reporting,
including some of our closest neighbours in Asia and the Pacific.
reporting on progress, the HLPF is a key space to hold governments accountable
to their commitments to sustainable development and leaving no one behind. It’s
also an important space for sharing learning and ideas between governments and
between civil society organisations, to help drive progress and solve problems
in achieving the SDGs. This happens through formal UN led sessions as well as
side events, which are run by governments, UN agencies and civil society.
it mean for people with disabilities?
In signing up
to achieving the SDGs by 2030 governments also made commitments to ensure that
all people benefit from sustainable development, and that no one is left behind
from any progress that is made. As mentioned above, this includes specific
reference to the inclusion and rights of people with disabilities. Yet despite
this commitment there is still a long way to go in making this a reality and
people with disabilities are still excluded from the SDGs and their
gives an important space for people with disabilities, their representative
organisations and organisations working to advance disability inclusion, like
CBM, to further understand how countries are tracking in achieving goals and
targets relating to disability, through VNR reports for example. It also
provides important opportunities for joint advocacy from a range of groups and
organisations working on disability rights and inclusion. In addition to
government representation, the HLPF is open to Major Groups and other key
stakeholders, including the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities
(Stakeholder Group). At the HLPF the Stakeholder Group has important
opportunities to advocate and make specific recommendations for the better inclusion of people
with disabilities across the Goals. For example, though disability inclusion is
specifically included in Goal 4 – the education goal – there are still huge
gaps in inclusive education for children with disabilities. When it comes to
Goal 3 on good health and wellbeing, a range of barriers like a lack of sign
language interpretation for Deaf people seeking to access health facilities,
leave people with disabilities behind from any progress made.
This year the
theme of the HLPF is empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.
Each year a selection of the 17 goals is reviewed in greater detail, this year
goal 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries – will be a reviewed.
This means even more focus will be on inclusion, which gives an important
opportunity to push for greater disability inclusion.
CBM’s role at the HLPF
supporting a number of disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) from Asia and the Pacific to
engage in the HLPF’s formal sessions and processes to ensure the voices of
people with disabilities are heard. Along with the Stakeholder Group, CBM will
also be involved in a side event – Reducing inequalities: a look at persons
with disabilities, which will focus on recommendations and bring practical
experiences to the table to advance the implementation of Goal 10 for persons
with disabilities. We’ll also be keeping you up to date with what’s going
on at the HLPF across the ten days of the forum. You can follow along on Twitter.
The SDGs give
us a crucial opportunity to drive progress towards a more equal and sustainable
world where no one is left behind. They give us opportunities to advance
disability inclusion and ensure that people with disabilities receive a quality
education, can participate in their societies and can be free from poverty and
discrimination, but only if governments meet their commitments. The HLPF gives
us a crucial space to hold them accountable so that we can one day have a world
where all people with disabilities are free from discrimination and where they
benefit as equals from our shift towards a more just and sustainable world.