Building partnerships for the implementation of SDGs and the CRPD

As part of this year’s European Disability and Development Week (EDDW), ENIL organised an event on Promoting Independent Living through Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was part of a series of events, addressing disability issues in the context of development cooperation, coordinated by the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC).

The aim of the event, which took place on the 7th December at the UN Human Rights Office in Brussels, was to share information about European initiatives which link SDGs and CRPD, to learn about the work of Indian DPOs, as well as to discuss how to better promote the right to independent living, as set out in Article 19 CRPD, using SDGs.

The event was moderated by Nadia Hadad (ENIL Board member) and Barbara Caracciolo (SOLIDAR).

The work of Indian DPOs was presented by Prasanna Kumar and Arun Kumar Singh from Sightsavers India. They presented a project which aims to build the capacity of disabled people to shape and monitor the implementation of SDGs in India. As part of this project, they held several trainings on advocacy and capacity building on SDGs, looked at gender and disability issues, organised capacity building visits for DPOs to Brussels. A specific objective of the project is to establish, strengthen and stimulate policy dialogue and partnership between DPOs in India and the European Disability Forum.

The Initiative on Accessibility and Independent Living of Persons with Disabilities in Jharkhand spoke about the challenges disabled people face on a daily basis. Accessible environment was recognised as one of the core elements for improved social inclusion. In order to address all the challenges, numerous actions were undertaken, like awareness raising or trainings for people with disabilities. Consequently, some improvements to physical accessibility have been made. In the future, the plan is to continue with trainings and auditing of buildings.

Jamie Bolling highlighted the main principles of Independent Living – to have the same range of options and the same degree of self-determination that non-disabled people take for granted. She also presented the work of Swedish organisations promoting independent living and their Western Balkans initiative. This initiative is based on education, knowledge exchange, study visits, peer support, mentoring on rights and increasing self-confidence. The results are a change in attitudes and expectations – by the families, young people and society, increased independence and empowerment, increased participation and increased recognition.

One of the learnings from this event is that we face similar obstacles and challenges around the world and that we can make a difference through a variety of activities: awareness raising, peer support, mentoring, trainings and education, among other.