News from New York – Lauren Henley

Had our first brainstorming session as a delegation today, to start planning for the next few days at the United Nations and to prepare for the side event that we will be hosting on Thursday afternoon. Tomorrow we’ll be attending the Civil Society Forum before heading off to an event in the evening to farewell the departing Chair of the International Disability Alliance. A big congratulations to our very own Maryanne Diamond, who will be taking over as chair of the Alliance from next month.

A bit of light reading on the Civil Society Forum below for anyone who is interested:

The Civil Society CRPD Forum (CSF) is a full day event that will be held on 9 June 2014, the day prior to the United Nations (UN) Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The focus of this year’s CSF is the post-2015 development agenda, which currently represents one of the most relevant international advocacy goals for the disability community worldwide. Panel discussions will include an overview and explanation of the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, an important step in the process of defining the post-2015 framework.

Promoting the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 process remains a significant challenge. For this reason, it is important that the CSF facilitates a platform for discussion that will take stock of what has been done and lessons-learned from the process thus far, and provide up-to-date information on key processes taking place between June 2014 and the adoption of post-2015 development goals in September 2015.

By early June, the Open Working Group (OWG) will have concluded its eleventh session. Two final sessions will be held in June and July, in which the future Sustainable Development Goals will be refined. At this juncture, it is crucial for the disability community to unify its advocacy work regarding concrete and measurable targets for the relevant goals that are inclusive of persons with disabilities.

The CSF sessions will focus on a number of ways in which this can occur, including coordinating national, regional and international advocacy work and building alliances with other vulnerable/marginalised groups such as women, children, and youth, aging and indigenous.
In this way, the disability community will be able to address potential inequalities in the Sustainable Development Goals and encourage Member States to uphold their responsibility to safeguard human rights for all, eliminate discrimination, diminish inequalities and ensure that no one is left behind.

For more from Lauren in New York, listen to Lauren’s audio posts on the blind Citizens Australia Audioboo channel