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February-March 2015 

The United Nations Enable Newsletter is prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (DSPD/DESA) with input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes, as well as from civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities. It is also available online at:

In this issue:

- Status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- DiDRR – Disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction
- News from UN Headquarters
- News from other UN agencies
- Calendar of events
- Other news


153 ratifications/accessions and 159 signatories to the CRPD
86 ratifications/accessions and 92 signatories to its Optional Protocol (OP)

Turkey ratified the OP on 26 March 2015
Marshall Islands ratified the Convention on 17 March 2015
Viet Nam ratified the Convention on 5 February 2015

Updates on the 8th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD
The 8th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD (COSP8) will be held from 9 to 11 June 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York under the overarching theme of mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in thepost-2015 development agenda. Application forms for side-events, online Registration for NGO participants, Application Form for NGO Accreditation, and Application form for NHRI participation are now available online. States Parties and observers, including DPOs, are called upon to support and encourage the participation of young leaders in the Conference of States Parties. (


Disability inclusion in global post-2015 disaster risk reduction framework
The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (3WCDRR) was held from 14-18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan. During the Conference Governments adopted a post-2015 disaster risk reduction strategy, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. A multi-stakeholder disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction (DiDRR) network worked to ensure that this outcome document was inclusive of the perspectives and needs of persons with disabilities. The 3WCDRR marks another important milestone in mainstreaming disability in development. Disability was highly visible in both the official and other programmes, as well as its outcome document. (

DESA Public Forum: Taking action toward a disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction framework
As part of its ongoing work to mainstream disability in development, in conjunction with 3WCDRR in Sendai, DESA/DSPD organized a Public Forum on 15 March and called for a new multi-stakeholder partnership to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and to promote the DiDRR framework and processes. The day-long Forum held at Tohoku University was entitled: “Taking Action in New Partnership towards a Disability-inclusive Global Disaster Risk Reduction Framework and its implementation”. The event was organized in collaboration with the Government of Japan, UNISDR, UNESCAP, the World Bank, the United Nations University and other global and local DiDRR caucuses. Participants at the Forum presented evidence-based research and well-developed analyses on the existing status of DiDRR, as well as provided concrete recommendations to move the process forward. New DiDRR networks were established consisting of Governments, UN system organizations, civil society, academia, the private sector, private foundations and the media. (

Consultation on DiDRR at fourth Zero Project Conference
DESA/DSPD in collaboration with The Zero Project organized a Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) Consultation in conjunction with the 4th Zero Project Conference in Vienna, Austria, from 27-28 February 2015. The Consultation delivered action-oriented recommendation on effective implementation of a disability-inclusive post-2015 disaster risk reduction strategy, including through innovative and assistive emerging ICT technologies, as well as empowering persons with disabilities and their organizations. The recommendations will work to strengthen partnerships among States, civil society organisations, experts and stakeholders through dialogues and discussions, and forge new networks on DiDRR and technology for future implementation of both the HFA2 as well as the post-2015 development framework.

Inclusion saves lives: Global campaign to promote DiDRR
DESA and UNDPI along with the DiDRR network developed an advocacy campaign entitled "Inclusion saves lives". The campaign will work to raise awareness of the urgency of disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction and resilience in society and development, as well as advance action at all levels to include persons with disabilities, their perspectives, knowledge and experience in DiDRR. Call for personal stories to highlight DiDRR: Please send us your personal stories, photographs and videos about how disability is included in planning for and in emergency situations in your region, country, city or community. Share your personal experience in a disaster situation and how successful inclusion and planning worked to save lives and we will showcase the idea on our website to inform and inspire others to do the same. More information is available at

Commission for Social Development concludes its 53rd session
The 53rd session of the Commission for Social Development concluded its 53rd session on 13 February 2015.  The report of Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission was presented  and highlighted his recent activities, as well as presented his observations, conclusions and recommendations for further mainstreaming disability in the development agenda. Recommendations include a call for establishing a standing mechanism to systematically review and monitor progress in realizing all internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities towards and beyond 2015, to promote coordination, effective implementation and synergies among UN programmes and to promote accessibility within the UN itself by considering the establishment of a reasonable accommodation fund. A resolution was also adopted by the Commission. (

Commission on the Status of Women: Beijing+20 and women with disabilities
The 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place at UN Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 March 2015. The main focus of the session was on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, including current challenges that affect its implementation and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women, during the 20 years of its implementation. During the session, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities addressed the CSW (in Spanish). Side-events to the main session were organized by Governments, UN system organizations and civil society: DESA in collaboration with UN Women organized an "Informal discussion on women with disabilities"; the Permanent Missions of Japan and Poland to the UN and the Japanese Association of International Women's Rights organized an event entitled "CEDAW and Gender-Based Violence (GBV): Progress and Challenges 20 Years after Beijing"; the Permanent Missions of Australia and the United Kingdom, DESA and UN Women, and the Women’s Refugee Commission organized an event "Advancing the rights of women and girls with disabilities: Reports from the frontline"; and Rehabilitation International held a parallel event entitled “Women with Disabilities: 20 Years After Beijing.”

World Autism Awareness Day 2015 – “Employment: The Autism Advantage”
Around the world, commemorations of World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April (WAAD) will focus on employment and the positive benefits of hiring people with autism. Research suggests that employers are missing out on abilities that that people on the autism spectrum have in greater abundance than “neurotypical” workers do – such as, heightened abilities in pattern recognition and logical reasoning, as well as a greater attention to detail. It is estimated that more than 80% of adults with autism are unemployed. At UN Headquarters, a WAAD event will focus on measures required to support growth in employment opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. Join us for the launch of a Call to Action inviting businesses to make concrete commitments to employ persons with autism. The event will opened by the Secretary-General of the UN and be webcast live. (

World Down Syndrome Day 2015 Conference held at UN Headquarters
The World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) Conference entitled: “'My Opportunities, My Choices' – Enjoying Full and Equal Rights and the Role of Families" was held on 20 March. The Conference was organized by Down Syndrome International in cooperation with the Permanent Missions of the Australia, Brazil, Iran, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Poland and Singapore to the United Nations, UNICEF, UNDESA, International Disability Alliance, and Inclusion International. Commemorating the 10th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day and the 21st anniversary year of the International Year of the Family, the Conference focused on the role of families and the positive contribution that they can make towards the enjoyment of full and equal rights for people with Down syndrome. (

OHCHR – Discussion on the right to education for persons with disabilities
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities called for a Day of General Discussion (DGD) on the right to education for persons with disabilities, to be held on 15 April 2015, at Palais des Nations, Geneva. The DGD will provide an opportunity to exchange views and garner insights from human rights practitioners and leading experts on the right to education with a view to foster a deeper understanding of its content and implications for implementation. The DGD will consist of two panels on the following themes: 1) The legislation and policy of the right to inclusive education; 2) Accessibility and reasonable accommodation for the realization of inclusive education.

UNICEF – GPcwd Youth Council
On 10 March 2015 the GPcwd Youth Council conducted a teleconference, facilitated by Ms. Abia Akram, Chair of the Youth Council, to discuss plans for strategic and meaningful participation of the Council members at various national, regional and global meetings and events with a view to contribute to discussions on a disability-inclusive post-2015 development agenda.  As a next step, the Council will develop a calendar of engagement and prepare key media messages on disability-inclusion. (  

ILO – Guidelines on achieving equal employment for persons with disabilities
The International Labour Organization (ILO) released its update to the 2007 guidelines on “Achieving equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities through legislation”. Available in English, French and Spanish, the Guidelines were developed for policy-makers and drafters of legislation, with a view to support the revision of existing laws and development of new laws of relevance to women and men with disabilities, and the development of regulations and policies to give effect to these laws. (


Please send information on major international disability events, for possible inclusion in the list below, to Now also available on the UN Enable website:

2 April: World Autism Awareness Day

25 March to 17 April: 13th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

20 April to 1 May: 14th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

7 to 8 May: Meeting of the Inter-Agency Support Group for the CRPD (IASG)

18 to 19 May: Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity

9 to 11 June: 8th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD

6 to 9 July: 6th International Conference on Disabilities - Unity & Diversity in Action

28 to 31 July: TRANSED 2015 -The 14th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons

28 July to 2 August: XVII World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf

17 August to 4 September: 14th session of the CRPD Committee

2016 Habitat III


(DISCLAIMER: The information below is provided by other stakeholders for informational purposes only. This does not constitute endorsement of, or an approval by, the United Nations of any of the products, services, or opinions of the organization or individual. The United Nations bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of their statements and opinions.)

New newsletter from UK DFID
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) announced that it will be issuing the first in a series of quarterly newsletters on disability inclusive development. The newsletter will contain articles from DFID and our partners on good practice in disability inclusive development. (

Call for NGO support for the establishment of an NGO Committee on Disability
At the request of Disabled People's International (DPI), DESA along with the Conference of NGOs (CoNGO), convened the meeting of key international disability NGOs on 24 March to discuss the establishment of an NGO Committee on Disability. The Committee would aim to strengthen the voices of persons with disabilities in all UN processes, including the mainstreaming of disability in the work of the UN and its Member States. For more information on NGO Committees, please visit the CoNGO website at: NGOs wishing to participate in the establishment of the Committee should send their communication of interest to:

News from Disabled People’s International (DPI)
(1) On the occasion of World Leprosy Day, the India chapter of Disabled People's International (DPI) with the support of The Nippon Foundation, organized the first ever National Conference on Disability and Leprosy on 31 January to 1st February in New Delhi, India. The aim of the Conference was to better understand and address challenges in promoting inclusion of persons with disabilities. (2) DPI along with the CBR Global Network (CGN) launched a global campaign to include disability in Goals 1 (poverty) and 3 (health) of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The campaign calls for the explicit inclusion of people with disabilities in the two goals. The campaign is currently being implemented across DPI's network in over 150 countries. (3) In advocating for the global campaign in (2) above, DPI Global Chair, Javed Abidi met with Ambassadors and leading representatives of several Member States, UN agencies and international civil society organizations during his recent visit to New York. Mr. Abidi also highlighted the issue of rightful and equitable representation of persons with disabilities from all regions of the world, especially the Global South, as well as initiated a discussion on the establishment of an NGO Committee on Disability along with other key NGOs and supporting UN offices, with a view to further strengthen the negotiating power of DPOs at the United Nations and beyond.

EDF alternative report on the rights of persons with disabilities in EU 
The European Disability Forum (EDF) recently announced that it has submitted its Alternative Report on the implementation of the CRPD in Europe to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. During its 13th session on 2 April 2015, the Committee will examine the first-ever report of the EU’s implementation of the CRPD. (

“Fire Safety for All” International Fire Conference
The “Fire Safety for All' in Buildings – Reboot & Reload!” Conference (9-10 April 2015) will be using the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as the starting point in International Law, this conference will re-examine Fire Safety and Protection in Buildings for People with Activity Limitations. This conference is intended to be a catalyst for substantive social transformation globally. The conference is co-sponsored by the CIB W14, a Working Commission of the International Council for Research & Innovation in Building & Construction. (

Promoting the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the local labour market
With the support of Johanniter and in cooperation with YMCA and the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BASR) organized a workshop to promote the full participation of people with disabilities in the local labour market in compliance with national laws and international conventions. More than 30 representatives of private companies, civil society institutions and decision makers from several Governmental institutions discussed issues related to inclusive employment, diversity and accommodation in accessible work environments. The workshop is a first step of an intensive advocacy plan set by BASR’s Economic Empowerment Program to address isolating and discriminating against people with disabilities, improve their quality of life, and encourage them to be fully integrated in the labour market on equal basis with other citizens. This initiative will pave the way for people with disabilities to become active members of society, contributing to social and economic development in the State of Palestine. (

Call for papers on disability and human rights
A special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies on “Disability and Human Rights” will investigate issues of disability rights within the human rights agenda from the points of view and methodologies of cultural studies. Contributions might focus on, but should not be limited to: foundational questions concerning the cultural studies analysis of disability rights; methodological issues in the cultural studies analysis of disability rights; the rhetoric of human rights and disability rights; defining and discussing disability rights; the meaning of “human” in the advocacy for rights, especially disability rights; portraying disability rights from a cultural point of view. Guest editors: Gian Maria Greco and Elena Di Giovanni. (


Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD)
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)
S-2906, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY 10017, USA.


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