The newest edition of „My Pregnancy My Choice – A Guide to pregnancy and Birth“ will be available as from early May on. The 470 pages book with more than 500 pictures provides becoming parents with information around pregnancy and birth in easy language. “The book has helped to empower parents because they have a resource they feel able to read and get the relevant information needed”, says a health professional. The book is revised and updated by CHANGE in collaboration with NHS Scotland and UNICEF. Visit the CHANGE homepage for preordering the book or for more information.

Read our online article to know more about CHANGE


“My Pregnancy My Choice” (pdf version)

On 25th March the 128th IPU Assembly held a panel discussion on the rights of children with disabilities.

Speakers included:

  • Ms Susana Sottoli, Deputy Director, Programme Division, UNICEF
  • Mr Xavier Torres, Member of the CRPD Committee,  Ecuador, as well as
  • Mr Boukary Savadogo, Director of Solidarité nationale in Burkina Faso

The panel as well as the debate afterwards was moderated by Mr Ian Liddel-Grainger MP, United Kingdom.

Click to read the Statement by Ingrid Heindorf, World Future Council.

Ingrid Heindorf, Anda Filip (IPU Secretariat) and the delegation of San Marino (Mirko Tomassoni, Gian Franco Terrenzi and Elena Tonnini)

Ingrid Heindorf with Maria Cristina Kronfle Gómez, MP from Ecuador

Statement by Ingrid Heindorf during IPU side event








Background information:

According to the first ever World Report on Disability, produced jointly by the World Health Organization and the World Bank in 2011, the number of children aged 0–14 years experiencing disability is estimated at 95 million, with 13 million children experiencing severe difficulties. In spite of their disability, most of these children are victims of some form of inequality. They face obstacles in  terms of access to education, health care in general and rehabilitation and reintegration in society. For some children, their disability means being stigmatized and excluded. In low-income countries, the situation is even more worrying: scarce resources make it impossible to meet the special needs of these children given the number of other daily challenges to be faced. Meaningful action involving all stakeholders, in particular parliamentarians, must be taken in accordance with the instruments and mechanisms governing the rights of childrenwith disabilities. Such action should result in the provision of better care and assistance to these children and should include ensuring equal opportunities for them and their rehabilitation and integration into their community.

Click to read the full Concept note


Panel at our Side Event

Dear friends and colleagues,

The side event Promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities: Where are we now and the way forward post-2015 on 7th March at the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council was a great success! It was held by the Permanent Missions of Austria, Finland, New Zealand and Thailand to the United Nations, as well as the International Disability Alliance, with the support of the Essl Foundation and the World Future Council.

About 40 representatives from Permanent Missions such as the US, UK, Spain, Lithuania, Australia, Norway, Thailand, New Zealand, Austria, Finland and other countries as well as representatives from international organizations such as the ILO, OHCHR, Council of Europe, UNICEF, the International Campaign for the Ban of Landmines and others attended.

At the event we could present the Zero Project’s work on innovative policies and practices that promote employment rights of persons with disabilities and discussed how to best enhance the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 MDG agenda.

Please find here the programme overview, our presentation, photos, videos and press release!

With very best wishes,

Michael Fembek and Ingrid Heindorf

At the Zero Project Conference 2013, 10 Innovative Policies and 20 Innovative Practices were presented which overcome conditions that act as barriers to the full exercise of employment rights by persons with disabilities. For those of you who could not be with us, we produced for selected policy and practice examples short video statements which can be easily accessed, viewed and spread.

Interviews with presenters of Innovative Policies 2013:

For successfully helping mental health service clients with finding paid work: the British Individual Placement and Support with Rachel Elizabeth Perkins, Equality 2025 (English)

For facilitating the removal of workplace barriers, while offering to persons with disabilities the means and support to find or retain a job: the Australian JobAccess Programme with Thérèse Campbell, Workfocus Group (English)

For recognizing that supported employment is an effective means through which people with high support needs can obtain meaningful employment: the Spanish Royal Decree on Rules for the Supported Employment Programme with Fernando Bellver Silván, European Union of Supported Employment (English)

For revoking discriminatory provisions, under which operators of sheltered workshops were given a blanket exemption from minimum wage and holiday and sick leave legislation: New Zealand’s Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Repeal Act with Sue O’Shea, People First New Zealand (English)

For establishing that, in case of lesser capability because of illness or acquired disability, employers must make all reasonable efforts to retain the worker: the Swedish Employment Protection Act with Ann Westregård, Lund University (English)

For enabling employees to recover and return to employment: the Malaysian Return to Work Programme with Mohammed Azman Bin Aziz Mohammed, Social Security Organisation(English)

Interviews with presenters of Innovative Practices 2013:



2. Zero Project Conference Participants

This year’s Zero Project Conference took place on 18 – 19 February 2013 at Palais Niederösterreich in Vienna, Austria and focused on “Disability & Employment”. Parliamentarians, foundations, NGOs, academics, activists and others from 36 different countries came together to discuss innovative policy and practice examples. One of the main problems to be identified was the lack of data.  For example, there are few numbers on apprenticeships and employment for persons with disabilities available, which makes it even harder to work towards real improvements.

The organizers were pleased to invite experts to present eleven innovative policies and 20 innovative practice examples.  All these represent big steps forward in furthering the equality for persons with disabilities in their right to decent work.

Final Plenary Session

These policy and practice examples were presented and discussed in several workshops, giving conference delegates the opportunity to learn more about them – and, perhaps, to push forward in the same direction in the context of their own work. These discussions were thought to be very fruitful, as delegates not only learned from each other, but are also, now, in the position to take the messages they had learned back home.

To sum up, the second Zero Project Conference was a big success and enabled participants to share ideas, learn about innovative policies and practices and, equally as important, connect to each other.


Find pictures, presentations etc via the links provided below:

Millenium Development Goals – what next?

The Austrian and Finnish Permanent Missions to the United Nations, and the International Disability Alliance, with the support of the Essl Foundation and the World Future Council, will host a side event at the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council on promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.

The forthcoming side event will seek

  • to identify challenges, good practices, and means of enhancing cooperation to implement the CRPD, as well as
  • to examine ways to enhance inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-MDG development framework.

You are cordially invited to participate:

Promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities: Where we are now and the way forward post-2015

7 March 2013, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Palais des Nations, Room XXI

The discussion, led by Chairman H.E. Ambassador Christian Strohal, will include the participation of the following speakers:

  • Ron McCallum, Chairperson, CRPD Committee (tbc)
  • Zero Project: Michael Fembek, Programme Manager, Essl Foundation, and Ingrid Heindorf, Human Rights Officer, World Future Council
  • Yannis Vardakastanis, Chairperson, International Disability Alliance
  • Craig Mokhiber, Head of Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch, OHCHR

Should you like to participate at this event and should you not possess a badge to access the Palais des Nations, please send your registration as soon as possible to

Please download our flyer in DOC and PDF


According to the World report on disability published by the World Health Organization and World Bank, there are an estimated one billion persons with disabilities across the globe. Persons with disabilities and their families, of whom 80 per cent live in developing countries, are overrepresented among those living in absolute poverty. Although the number of ratifications of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) continues to increase, implementation remains a constant challenge. Persons with disabilities face many barriers to participation in society, for example, in accessing development programmes and funds, social protection, health care, education, employment, communication and transportation services. Going forward, greater protection of the rights of persons with disabilities is needed and it is essential that this be included in the post-MDGs.


With under a week before the second Zero Project Conference kicks off on Monday, February 18th in Vienna, Austria, here are just some of the many distinguished experts who will be there to share their views, experiences and expertise on securing decent work for persons with disabilities…

…Coming to Vienna from around Europe and around the world, the Zero Project looks forward, amongst others, to welcoming:

Barbara Murray, Senior Disability Specialist at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva.Ms Murray’s presence is all the more significant since, focusing as it is on employment and persons with disabilities, this year’s conference is being organized in collaboration with the ILO.

Hosted, once again, in Vienna, Austria, the conference will be honoured to welcomethe country’s Federal Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, himself a native of Vienna, Rudolf Hundstorfer.

Flying in from India, Javed Abidi, both Vice Chair of the International Disability Alliance and Chairperson of Disabled People’s International will be with us from the world’s second most populous country.

Javed Abidi – Vice Chair of the International Disability Alliance and Chairperson of Disabled People’s International

Coming in from Spain, Miguel Ángel Cabra de Luna will be with us from both Fundación ONCE in Madrid and the European Consortium of Foun­dations on Human Rights and Disability in Brussels, Belgium.

Şafak Pavey, recipient last year of the International Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State (there’s a great picture of Ms. Pavey on the web flanked by Michelle Obama and Hilary Rodham Clinton), and member of its Grand National Assembly, representing Istanbul Province, will be joining us from Turkey.

From Boston in the USA, Bill Kiernan, Director of the Institute for Community Inclusion/UCEDD, and recently appointed Dean and Research Professor at the School of Global Inclusion and Social Developmentat the University of Massachusetts at Boston, will be escaping the recent snow storm that dumped feet of snow in the North East of the country.

We will be joined not only by these distinguished guests, but also many others including presenters of exemplary Innovative Policies and Innovative Practices, together with a number of Ashoka Fellows, in what promises to be a great conference next week.

The Zero Project just launched its very own Facebook fan page!

The aim of the page is to provide you with our most up-to-date news, together with interesting facts, articles or events, on everything to do with persons with disabilities.

You are warmly invited to “like” us, and to share, comment or post your own thoughts and ideas related to our topics of interest.

The new fan page provides us, and you, not only with a way to exchange information, but also to communicate!

Get in touch with us, but also with others in order to expand our, and your, network.

We are looking forward to welcoming you.

Follow the link to join us!


The Zero Project was honoured to be invited by the Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations on Persons with Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS) to present, before nearly 20 different Latin American and Caribbean nations, at the International Seminar “Latin America Accessible and Without Barriers” it organized as part of its 5th Conference in Quito, Ecuador on November 10th, 2012.

From a presentation entitled the Zero Project – Monitoring the rights of persons with disabilities, delegates learned a little about the scope of the project’s work, involving, in particular, both its annual survey of the implementation of the UN CRPD, and, in 2012, its special survey on employment rights of persons with disabilities around the world.

Since the presentation was given just prior to the publication of the Zero Project Report 2013, delegates were also be provided with a sampling of results therefrom which related specifically to those Latin American and Caribbean nations covered in the project’s surveys. These, hopefully, demonstrated a little not only the geographical scope of the Zero Project’s work, but also how the project continues to reach out internationally and expand its perspective, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. For the Zero Project, these both continue to be very important.

©Phoenix Society. Awarded photograph from the Workability International photo contest 2009

Decent work for persons with disabilities – nothing less!

Under this motto, the Essl Foundation, World Future Council and Bank Austria, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization, have invited distinguished speakers, participants and guests to their international Zero Project Conference in Vienna.

We are delighted to announce that already more than 200 stakeholders – from NGOs, governments, companies, social projects – have registered!

In this, its second year, the Zero Project Conference will focus on employment rights for persons with disabilities and will give time and space to the discussion of related topics among different stakeholders and people with disabilities. The two-day conference will, in particular, explore, in detail, 11 Innovative Policies and 20 Innovative Practices that are outstanding positive and progressive legal reforms and projects, fostering the rights of persons with disabilities on the open labour market. Furthermore, workshops will cover CRPD shadow reporting, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and disability, Ashoka – Social Entrepreneurs, international employment models that work, and working on the open labour market in Austria. Please find our constantly updated programme here.

The aim of the conference is not only to strengthen the rights of persons with disabilities, but also to build bridges between them and society. To achieve this goal, interactive dialogue is being promoted to share ideas, concerns and constructive thoughts on how to step out on to new paths into the future.