UN Enable Newsletter

August 2016

The UN Enable Newsletter is prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (DESA/DSPD) with input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes, as well as from civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities. It is also available online at: www.un.org/disabilities.

In this issue:

– Status of the CRPD

– International Day of Persons with Disabilities

– News from UN Headquarters


– News from other UN entities

– Calendar of international disability events

– Other news


166 ratifications/accessions and 160 signatories to the CRPD

89 ratifications/accessions and 92 signatories to its Optional Protocol (OP)



Are you preparing to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) in your local community? Plan! Organize! Take action now! The theme for IDPD 2016 is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”, which draws attention to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how these goals can create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. (http://bit.ly/un_idpd2016)

UN Enable Photo Exhibition

Submit entries for the UN Enable Photo Exhibition 2016, entitled: “The CRPD and you”. In light of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention, this year the photo exhibit will highlight the positive ways in which the Convention has impacted the lives of people around the world. Deadline for submitting photographs: 31 October. (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/unepe.html)

UN Enable Film Festival

Submissions are now being accepted for the UN Enable Film Festival, held each year at UN Headquarters on IDPD. The Festival presents short disability-related films selected on the basis of their content and message that can help raise awareness of disability issues to promote the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society. Deadline for submitting films: 20 November. (http://bit.ly/unenablefilmfestival)

Share your IDPD event on the UN Enable website

Let us know how you will be commemorating IDPD 2016 in your community and we will post the information and link to your event on the UN Enable website. (enable@un.org; max. 50 words)


UN Refugee Summit to convene at UN Headquarters in New York

On 19 September the UN General Assembly will convene a High-level meeting to address large movements of refugees and migrants. Migration and displacement are important issues for both human rights and development policy-makers and practitioners. Although the international normative framework has broadly recognized the importance of addressing the needs of persons with disabilities in the fields of human rights and development, it has historically overlooked the subgroups within the disabled people in the context of migration, including migrant workers with disabilities and refugees with disabilities. In view of the barriers to inclusion and double discrimination faced by women and girls with disabilities in displacement. Disability-related event: On 16 September, DESA, the Government of Japan, the Women’s Refugee Commission and other stakeholders will organize an event to bring together actors in both the development and humanitarian fields to share experiences, strategies and lessons learned from pursuing integrated responses to women and girls with disabilities in displacement. The event will also explore approaches to address the cross-sectionalities among disability rights, gender empowerment and issues that guide humanitarian action and development, with a view to advancing the rights and well-being of women and girls with disabilities in displacement. (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/refugees_migrants_with_disabilities.html)


Countdown to HABITAT III and an inclusive New Urban Agenda 

HABITAT III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development will be held in Quito, Ecuador from 17 to 20 October 2016. At the Conference, Governments are expected to adopt the New Urban Agenda that will guide the sustainable and inclusive development of the world’s cities for next 20 years. The informal Global Network on Accessible and Disability Inclusive Urban Development, a multi-stakeholder network of policy-makers in Government, urban development and disability professionals, academics, disability rights advocates and development cooperation partners, continue their concerted efforts to include disability in all Habitat III processes, including in the draft text of the New Urban Agenda. The Agenda is currently under negotiation and will be further negotiated by Member States at an informal intergovernmental meeting in New York from 7 to 9 September, before being presented at Habitat III for adoption. (http://bit.ly/unenable_urbandev)

DESA – High-level forum on disability-inclusion and accessible urban development

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MIDUVI) in collaboration with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, Secretariat of UN Habitat III, Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), Rehabilitation International, Disabled People’s International, Essl Foundation, The Nippon Foundation and the Global Network on Disability Inclusion and Accessible Urban Development, will convene a high-level forum on disability-inclusion and accessible urban development in Quito on 16 October, a day prior to the opening of HABITAT III. Participants at the Forum will include Governments, UN agencies, urban policy-makers and practitioners, DPOs as well as other stakeholders. The Forum will work to ensure that the New Urban Agenda will be fully inclusive of and accessible to all, particularly to persons with disabilities. It will also facilitate an exchange of practical and technical expertise, as well as provide an opportunity for a call for commitments for action to further advance the creation of inclusive cities for all. Discussions at the Forum are expected to provide a set of recommendations that will work to support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/desa-forum-ecuador-oct2016.html)

DESA – Publication on Good practices of accessible urban development

In light of the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III) and the imminent launch of the New Urban Agenda, DESA in collaboration with the Essl Foundation (Zero Project) and others have prepared a new publication entitled: “Good practices of accessible urban development“. The publication provides case studies of innovative practices and policies in housing and built environments, as well as transportation, public spaces and public services, including information and communication technology (ICT) based services. The publication concludes with strategies and innovations for promoting accessible urban development. The advance unedited text is available at: http://bit.ly/unenable_urbandev.


DESA-ECLAC Expert Group Meeting on women and girls with disabilities

DESA and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) will organize an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) under the theme “Advancing the rights and perspectives of women and girls with disabilities in development and society” in Santiago, Chile, from 15-17 November 2016. The meeting will include experts and researchers in disability and women’s rights, gender equality and empowerment of women, social and economic development. The EGM is expected to result in a set of recommendations that will work to guide implementation of the 2030 Agenda and promote greater gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities. The outcome of the meeting is also expected to contribute towards a forthcoming report of the Secretary-General on the situation of women and girls with disabilities.  (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/about-us/expert-group-meetings/egm2016_women_chile.html)

OHCHR – 16th session of the CRPD Committee

During its 16th session held in Geneva from 15 August to 6 September, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities considered the initial reports of Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Italy, Bolivia, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay. The Committee also adopted draft general comment on article 6 (women and girls with disabilities) and draft general comment on article 24 (right to inclusive education) on 26 August. (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/GC.aspx, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1052&Lang=en, and www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/events/crpd-committees-16th-session)

OHCHR – The 2016 Social Forum to focus on disability and CRPD+10

The 2016 Social Forum will take place from 3 to 5 October 2016 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The Social Forum is an annual three-day meeting convened by the Human Rights Council. It is a unique space for open and interactive dialogue between civil society actors, representatives of Member States, and intergovernmental organizations. The theme of the 2016 session of the Social Forum will be 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 CRPD. The Social Forum provides an inclusive platform that moves forward the international human rights agenda. (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/SForum/Pages/SForum2016.aspx and www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/events/social-forum-2016)

OHCHR – Working to improve support services for persons with disabilities in Africa

Improving support services for persons with disabilities in Africa will be the focus of a two-day expert meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 6 to 7 September, hosted by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar. The regional meeting will bring together experts, policy makers and advocates from a dozen African countries, including the board members of the African Disability Forum, human rights specialists from the African Union, the United Nations, academia, and civil society. The findings of the meeting will inform the Special Rapporteur’s next report to the Human Rights Council, to be presented in March 2017. (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20439&LangID=E)

UNICEF – Take the Early Childhood Development survey

The Early Childhood Development Task Force (ECDTF) of the Global Partnership Children with Disabilities (GPcwd) is conducting this survey, in collaboration with UNICEF and the RISE Institute. This 15-minute online survey covers inclusive early childhood development (ECD) and early childhood intervention (ECI) programmes for children with developmental delays, disabilities or atypical behaviours from 0 to 8 years. The outcome of the survey will help build a profile of program accomplishments and challenges that will contribute to a global mapping of practices and outcomes, as well as provide an overview of the current implementation of ECD and ECI programs globally. The survey will help generate recommendations to advance the development and implementation of inclusive ECD and ECI programs and promote global exchange of learning. If your organization does not work on ECD, please share this message with your partners and networks. DEADLINE: 15 September. (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECDEnglish or inclusiveecdmapping@gmail.com.

ECLAC – Commemorating 10 years of the CRPD

On July 5, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) participated in the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the CRPD and its Optional Protocol in Chile.  During the event, challenges and achievements in the implementation of the CRPD in Chile were presented, such as the enactment of Chilean Law No. 20,422 that created the National Disability Service, the completion of the second National Survey on Disability in 2015, and a recent proposal to implement an employment quota system to promote labour market inclusion of persons with disabilities.

ILO – 3rd Annual Global meeting of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network

The Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) will convene the 3rd annual global meeting on 12 October 2016 at its Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Network members, global companies, national business and disability networks, academic institutions, and global and regional disabled people’s organizations will participate in panel discussions on promoting employment of students and graduates with disabilities, company and national network practices on stigma and stereotypes, innovative company disability inclusion practices, including supply chain/solidarity sourcing, supported employment, good practices in retaining employees who acquire a disability. (http://www.businessanddisability.org/index.php/en/news-and-events/news/420-global-meeting-2016)

ITU – Workshop on E-accessibility policy for East Africa

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in collaboration with East Africa Community Secretariat (EAC), will hold a workshop on the development of an E-accessibility Policy for East Africa from 6 to 7 October 2016, in Nairobi Kenya.  The workshop will be hosted by the Communications Authority of Kenya.

In an effort to facilitate digital inclusion, Governments around the world are exploring and implementing various approaches to ensure universal access to digital information, particularly access for persons with disabilities. The objective of this workshop is to discuss and develop policy recommendations on ICT-accessibility that will be addressed to policy makers in EAC Member States. It is expected that, upon validation and approval, the policies will then be implemented at the national level. The recommendations will also constitute a valuable benchmark for replication across Africa.  (http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Pages/E_accessibility_EastAfrica.aspx)

UNESCO – Call for nominations for the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities 

The call for nominations for the 2016/2017 edition of the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is now open. The aim of the Prize is to reward the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations that promote inclusion and the enhancement of the lives of persons with disabilities in society through the effective, innovative and inclusive application of digital solutions.  Nominations can be endorsed and proposed by Ministries in charge of relations with UNESCO, National Commissions for UNESCO and Non-governmental organizations having official relations with UNESCO. The total amount available for the Prize biennially is USD $ 40,000, which will be distributed equally between the individual and organizational winners. No later than on 15 September 2016, all applicants must complete the application form, either in English or French, available separately for individuals and institutions online, English at: http://en.unesco.org/prizes/digital-empowerment and French at: http://fr.unesco.org/prizes/digital-empowerment

World Bank – Implementing a new and inclusive safeguards framework

On August 4, 2016, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a new Environmental and Social Framework that expands protections for people and the environment in Bank-financed investment projects. The safeguards review involved nearly four years of analysis and engagement around the world with Governments, development experts, and civil society groups including Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPOs), reaching nearly 8,000 stakeholders in 63 countries. The new framework makes several direct references to safeguarding the interests of persons with disabilities and protecting them from unsafe working conditions.  It encourages Borrowers to undertake reasonable accommodation measures to adapt the workplace to include workers with disabilities, as well as to provide all information in accessible formats. Furthermore, the safeguards framework also requires Borrowers to undertake a process of meaningful consultation in a manner that provides stakeholders with opportunities to express their views on project risks, impacts, and mitigation measures. In addition, the World Bank has issued a directive on addressing project risks and impacts on disadvantaged groups, which also addresses the inclusion of persons with disabilities. (http://consultations.worldbank.org/consultation/review-and-update-world-bank-safeguard-policies)

World Bank – Why it is time to make Inclusive Development inclusive: TEDx Talk

The World Bank’s Global Disability Advisor, Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, recently gave a TEDxTALK on “Why it is time to make Inclusive Development inclusive.” Speaking to an audience largely composed of young development practitioners and students, Ms. McClain-Nhlapo challenged misconceptions about persons with disabilities and made a strong case for why development needs to be inclusive of persons with disabilities. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQg-jnOfHPQ&feature=youtu.be)


Please send us information on major international disability events, for possible inclusion in the list below, to enable@un.org. Now also available on the UN Enable website at http://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/calendar.html.


7 to 18 September: 2016 Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

19 September: UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, UN Headquarters

19 to 25 September: International Week of the Deaf

27 to 29 September: 2nd CBR World Congress, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

3 to 5 October: UN Social Forum, Geneva, Switzerland

13 to October: 5th DEEP 2016 – Designing Enabling Economies and Policies & ICT Discovery Lab, at OCAD University in Toronto

16 October: DESA DSPD Forum on Accessible and Disability Inclusive Urban Development, Quito, Ecuador

17 to 20 October: HABITAT III, UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Quito, Ecuador

25 to 27 October: 23rd Rehabilitation International (RI) World Congress, Edinburgh, UK

3 December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities


January 2017: UN World Data Forum, Cape Town, South Africa

22-26 May 2017: UNISDR Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, Cancun, Mexico

8 to 10 November 2017: 3rd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf, Budapest, Hungary


(DISCLAIMER: The information below is provided by other stakeholders for informational purposes only. This does not constitute endorsement of, or an approval by, the United Nations of any of the products, services, or opinions of the organization or individual. The United Nations bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of their statements and opinions.)

International Week of the Deaf, 19-25 September 2016

Under the theme “With sign language, I am equal”, the International Week of the Deaf (IWD) will be commemorate globally to draw attention to the rights of deaf persons and other issues of concern namely: birth right, deaf identity, equal language, bilingual education, equal participation, lifelong learning, equal opportunities, and accessibility. The week will also celebrate key milestones such as the 65th anniversary of the World Federation of the Deaf, the 10th anniversary of the CRPD and the 1st year of the implementation of the 2030 agenda and the SDGs. First launched in 1958 in Rome, IWD takes place annually during the last week of September. Globally, IWD works to raise awareness about the Deaf Community on different levels. (https://wfdeaf.org/news/iwd-2016-will-take-place-theme-sign-language-equal-19-25-september)

Calling accessible Conference technology providers for Zero Conference

The annual Zero Project Conference is an international gathering and a platform of exchange for new ideas concerning the lives of people with disabilities. As the Zero Project is about innovation, the Zero Project Conference is developing itself into a hub for innovative technologies supporting the full accessibility for participants, including virtual participation. The organizers of the Conference will give selected conference technology providers the opportunity to showcase their products and services such as: captioning, text to speech, speech to text-technologies, sign language interpretation orientation and information systems, language translation, remote participation, easy language translation, booking, connecting and networking, presentation and sharing platforms. Interested parties should get in touch with w.kainz@zeroproject.org by 18 September 2016 and provide brief information about their accessible conference technology products and services. (http://zeroproject.org)

WDU mobile application for persons with disabilities

The World Disability Union (WDU), in accordance with the principle of “from commitment to action” will soon launch their “WDU Mobile Application” that aims to provide a resource for people with disabilities to easily and quickly access valuable information on topics concerning their rights. People with disabilities and their families will also be able to access rights-based and quality services anywhere, whenever needed. The App will also allow people with disabilities to connect, interact with each other and build social networks. It will provide a smart and connected ecosystem for individuals in terms of health, education, recruitment, culture, sport, accessing physical environment, rehabilitation services, accessible tourism, technical/medical daily life products, banking and shopping services. The WDU E-Mobility Application Project is expected to be presented on 3 December, as well as at a COSP10 side-event in 2017 and the WDU General Assembly in Turkey. (http://www.worlddisabilityunion.org)

G3ict and IAAP Expand Digital Accessibility Training and Certification on a Global Scale 

G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies, has acquired IAAP, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, to promote the accessibility profession on a global scale through networking, education and certification on digital accessibility.  IAAP certification is currently available at 630 testing centers on five continents.  Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Chair of the Board of G3ict, and former Chair of the UN General Assembly Ad hoc Preparatory Committee for the CRPD, highlighted: “This merger directly addresses the lack of skilled accessibility professionals which constitutes a major roadblock to fully realize the promises of the Convention.” (http://g3ict.com/press/press_releases/press_release/p/id_99)

Civil society call for action to promote gender parity in CRPD Committee

Join the International Disability Alliance (IDA), International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and GQUAL in calling for action to promote gender parity within the CRPD Committee, all treaty bodies and international and regional organizations. (www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/activities/call-action-promote-gender-parity)

New publication on violence against children with disabilities

Plan International has released new research on violence against children with disabilities and their access to protection. The study entitled “Protect us! Inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection” was conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It documents the extremely high levels of school-based violence against children with disabilities and identifies important barriers within the child protection system which stop children with disabilities from reporting violence and getting support, and also offers recommendations. An accessible, executive summary and the full report is available for download at this link: http://plan-international.org/protect-us.

HRW: Report on institutionalization of children with disabilities

Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a new report that highlights the lives of children with disabilities in Serbia who are placed in State institutions. The report is based on 118 interviews with children and young people with disabilities, their families, staff at institutions, experts, and Government officials. HRW finds that health professionals often advise parents to place their child with a disability in an institution, stating reasons such as poverty, stigma, discrimination, and the lack of access to health care and support services in the community.  HRW notes that while some progress has been made in protecting the rights of children with disabilities, more should be done to end the routine placement of children in state institutions, and to provide support so that children with disabilities can live with their families or in other family-like settings.  For more information on this research, contact Emina Cerimovic at cerimoe@hrw.org or  Shantha Rau Barriga at barrigs@hrw.org.  (https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/06/08/it-my-dream-leave-place/children-disabilities-serbian-institutions)

AHRC Creating a qualified workforce of persons with disabilities in NYC

AHRC’s Employment and Business Services was created as an effective conduit between employers/business community and job seekers. For over 30 years, the AHRC Services used a proven job-matching process that focuses on each person’s unique abilities, and matches the right candidate to the right job, leading to better retention, so that people with disabilities placed in employment, love and thrive in their jobs. AHRC New York City is a non-profit organization, established in 1949, serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and economically disadvantaged youth from the community. To learn more about hiring people with disabilities, please contact:  Shauna.lozada@ahrcnyc.org


Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD)

Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

S-2906, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY 10017, USA.


Email: enable@un.org

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