The EU’s Approach to Disability and Development

 In Influencing Change

On Monday EU-CORD represented the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) at the EU in an important meeting about the EU’s approach to disability.

The European Union (as a body) is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and thus is subject to a review process on how well it is meeting the obligations of this convention. IDDC participated in this review of the EU’s implementation of the CRPD, and was given the opportunity for a five minute intervention in the meeting on the report of the review process on the 26th October 2015.

Of particular relevance to EU-CORD and IDDC is the EU’s implementation of CRPD Article 11 on humanitarian emergencies and Article 32 on international cooperation. The review found that the EU has not yet fully implemented the inclusion of people with disabilities in its development and humanitarian actions and thus we are asking the EU to integrate the CRPD more fully in these areas, as recommended by the UN review process.

At the meeting we called for a systematic mainstreaming of disability in all policy and practice for EU external action. This approach is not only consistent with the concluding observations of the UN CRPD review process, but would also support the fulfillment of the EU’s 2015-2019 Human Rights Plan, the Agenda2030 for Sustainable Development, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

For DG ECHO and DG DEVCO a process of mainstreaming would mean that current policies and practices be revised to ensure that they are inclusive of persons with disabilities.

We want the extent to which people with disabilities are included in all aspects of EU projects to become an integral part of monitoring systems. The disaggregation of data is therefore needed so that we can know the extent to which people with disabilities are being included in humanitarian and development action. The quality of this inclusion needs to be measured using a disability marker.

A successful mainstreaming of disability in EU external action also requires additional training for EU staff, including EU delegations, so that there is a better awareness of disability and the CRPD. We would also like to see a clear work-plan for the implementation of the report’s recommendations, including mechanisms for coordination between those involved in policy and implementation on external action and clear lines of accountability.

This was an important opportunity to give our input and to work towards more inclusive EU external action. We emphasised our willingness to engage with the Commission in this process in the future and will continue to follow up our asks as we look forward to more inclusive EU humanitarian assistance and international cooperation.

 

Image: EU-CORD

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