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The creation and management of disability data and indicators, under discussion at the COSP11

Bridging the gap session at the COSP11

On the occasion of the 11th Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP11), held at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York from the 12th to the 14th of June, Bridging the Gap held on June 14th the side event “Bridging the Gap: European commitment to data collection and use for the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities”.

The side event, led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and supported by the European Commission and the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, focused on Bridging the Gap’s contribution to the implementation of articles 31 and 32 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – related to the collection and disaggregation of data, and to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in International cooperation, respectively – to strengthen the inclusion of people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Inmaculada Placencia, Deputy Head of the European Commission’s Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Unit at DG Employment, acted as the moderator for the session. In her opening speech, she referred to the project as “a unique opportunity for making development cooperation much more inclusive, by putting the two big agendas together: the agenda of the SDGs and the agenda of the CRPD”.

“There is no better time than now to engage in this discussion of how to promote the rights of people with disabilities. CRPD provides mainstreaming across all sectors and the SDG commitment calls on us to ensure that no one is left behind including those furthest left behind, a grouping in which women and girls with disabilities false squarely”, she claimed.

After the introduction, the exposition of different approaches on the collection and analysis of data, as well as the creation of indicators of disability as a basic tool to improve access to the rights of persons with disabilities, took place. The discussion addressed particularly the application of these data and indicators to women and girls with disabilities, one of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, often suffering of multiple forms of discrimination.

The session featured development and disability experts such as Victoria Lee, Bridging the Gap I’s project manager at OHCHR. In introducing BtG-I’s work she highlighted how it has been “carried out in close collaboration with both national statistical offices and civil society organizations“.

Raúl Montiel and Paola Duarte, on behalf of the National Commission on Disability of Paraguay (CONADIS), and Berhanu Tefera, Executive Director at the African Disability Forum, talked about the role played by the organizations of persons with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries to ensure an effective implementation of inclusive policies and services. Mr. Montiel put under the spotlight the importance of promoting the introduction of a disability-specific indicators for the inclusion of persons with disability in international cooperation, a matter of great relevance in today’s debate at global level.

Max Rubitsch, from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection, brought to the audience the work of the Austrian government in terms of “collecting data to improve national disability policies”, as well as his Ministry’s collaboration in the implementation of Bridging the Gap in Ethiopia through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

Finally, the International Consortium on Disability and Development (IDDC), represented by one of its board members, Ola Abu Alghaib, and the European Disability Forum (EDF), through its vice-president Patrick Clarke, put on the table the importance of international disability organizations for advocating on social protection policies and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, advocating for a twin-track approach for inclusion.