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Statement on Sustainable Development Goals, Addressed to the Eighth session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

January 2014

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities established pursuant to article 34 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, has the honour to address Member States of the United Nations participating at the Eighth Session of Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and would like to draw the attention of your Excellences to the position of the Committee regarding sustainable development goals.

The Committee recalls that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is based on the human rights model of disability, establishes a legal framework which focuses both on  human rights and development of persons with disabilities; and that the realization of universal human rights is the ultimate end of development.

The Committee would also like to recall its statement of May 2013 on the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the post 2015 development agenda, in which it called Member States, inter alia,  to:

  • Ensure that the post 2015 development agenda is firmly rooted in the principles of equality and non-discrimination; and that any sustainable development framework agreed upon in 2015, expressly addresses non-discrimination and equality as crosscutting issues.
  • Ensure that all persons with disabilities, and especially women, girls and boys with disabilities, persons with disabilities living in rural areas, indigenous persons with disabilities, older persons with disabilities and persons with disabilities in developing countries as well as their representative organizations, genuinely participate in the process leading to the establishment of post 2015 sustainable development goals;
  • Ensure that data is disaggregated, inter alia, by disability (and/or type of impairment), gender, age, and barriers faced by persons with disabilities, and that disability-rights indicators and benchmarks are put in place by Member States to measure the progress made by them in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of legislation,  public policies, programmes and plans aimed at the effective implementation of the disability-inclusive development goals identified with the participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations;

The Committee also wishes to evoke the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20 Conference) according to which “sustainable development requires the meaningful involvement and active participation of all Major Groups, including persons with disabilities”.

The Committee recalls that persons with disabilities constitute 15% of the world population, that an estimated 80% of persons with disabilities in the world live in developing countries and that they often represents the 15 to 20% most vulnerable and marginalized population in such countries. It also reminds Members States that there is ample evidence that persons with disabilities are more likely than persons without disabilities to experience poverty as well as disadvantage, exclusion and discrimination, in all spheres of life.

Bearing in mind the statement made by  the Chairperson of the Committee when she addressed the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development in New York in last September calling Member States to commit themselves to an inclusive, accessible and sustainable development for persons with disabilities in close link with their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Based on the above-mentioned legal framework and principles, the Committee requests that the Open Working Group on Sustainable development Goals

  1. Stress that equality and non-discrimination are reflected as cross-cutting issues in the post 2015 development framework;
  2. Ensure that a disability-rights approach, under the guidance of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is included and reflected as a cross-cutting dimension and an important element in the determination of goals, targets and indicators; and also ensure that targets and indicators include disaggregated data on prohibited grounds of discrimination, including disability.
  3. Commit to ensure the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities and their representatives organizations in the national implementation of the development goals and targets.
  4. Enforce strong accountability mechanisms by Member States, at the international and national level; including through existing international human rights mechanisms, so as to ensure the effective implementation of the right of persons with disabilities to an inclusive, accessible and sustainable development.

In order to achieve an inclusive, accessible and sustainable development for persons with disabilities, the Committee calls Member States and other stakeholders to take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to all services, the physical environment, transportation, information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and processes in accordance with article 9 of the Convention;  to  recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy full legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life, pursuant to article 12 of the Convention;  to ensure the implementation of the right of persons with disabilities to inclusive and accessible education in accordance with art.24 of the Convention;  as well as to foster effective multidirectional international cooperation as provided for in article 32 of the Convention.
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