The Social Forum is an annual event convened by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, that provides a unique space for interactive dialogue between civil society actors, representatives of Member States, and intergovernmental organizations, on a theme chosen by the Council each year.

The theme of the 2016 Social Forum is “The promotion and full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities in the context of the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”.  The Forum will include eleven Panels and roundtables.

Provisional programme

According to informal consultation with the OHCHR, the program of work will seek to cover:

  • 3rd October – review of the last 10 years of the CRPD implementation – progress, remaining challenges, and sharing of practices
  • 4th October –  implementation, the role of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations and accountability
  • 5th October – expectations and commitments from different stakeholders on the wanted future in terms of the CRPD and the SDGs implementation


The 2016 Forum aims to underline the importance of coordinated efforts at national, regional and international levels towards the CRPD implementation. Its panels and roundtables are of maximum 45 minutes each, followed by 45 minutes of interactive dialogue. The main purpose of this structure is to introduce open and participatory debates that will arise from sharing of practices, knowledge and experiences, with the objective to equally value participation from the floor as much as panellists’ interventions. This unique aspect of the Social Forum allows for high quality constructive dialogue among UN Member States and relevant stakeholders, including civil society organisations, national human rights institutions, intergovernmental organisations and academics.

Interactive dialogue: the constructive role of DPOs

The interactive dialogues represent excellent opportunities to advance positions and views of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations. States and other stakeholders are keen to learn from experts with disabilities to better implement the CRPD.

Excepted outcomes:

  1. The discussions themselves: The space for open and constructive dialogue between UN Member States, UN agencies, civil society actors, National Human Rights Institutions, private actors, intergovernmental organisations, academics and others, constitutes in itself a unique outcome, considering the UN machinery and its conventional protocols.
  2. Strengthen CRPD understanding: The Forum will serve as a vector to gather most updated experiences, practices and lessons learned on the CRPD implementation and monitoring,
  3. ‘Call to action’ from DPOs: IDA will aim to present a call to action at the end of the Forum to UN Member States, the Human Rights Council and the OHCHR to strengthen the mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities in their daily work. Side events Side events will be organized, in parallel of those panels, by different stakeholders, including IDA, its members, DPOs, Members States, UN organizations and others.

Side events

Organisations planning a side event, either with IDA or by itself, is advised to prepare a concept note of the event, (the topic, participants, optional sponsors of the side event and all relevant information), and send it to the secretariat of the Social Forum at no later than 30 August.

Registration – Please register by 31 AUGUST 2016

All organizations accrediting representatives or individuals wishing to attend the 2016 Social Forum are invited to complete and return to the secretariat of the Social Forum, by email to, the following documents:

  1. Microsoft Office document iconA letter submitted on the official letterhead of the organization – click to download template
  2. Microsoft Office document iconThe registration form (one per person) – click to download the form
  3.     A copy of passport or other official picture identity document
  4. Further information can be found at
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