At the closing session of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention of the Rights of persons with disabilities (CoSP 10), the representative of the Permanent Mission of New Zealand to the UN delivered a statement signed by 25 countries, which urged the United Nations System to disaggregate data by disability, by adopting the Washington Group short set of questions on disability. The statement warned that failing to do so jeopardizes chances for success of the 2030 Agenda, by making impossible to determine the impact of SDG implementations among large portions of the global population.
This statement highlighted the importance of adequate data collection for the planning and monitoring of policies that are crucial to the main global development agenda, echoing concerns expressed by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in her opening remarks
at the same conference.
It can also mark a turning point in the advocacy of persons with disabilities and their organizations for more effective planning of policies and resource allocation, and for more accountability in disability-related public investments. By taking a firm stand in support of data disaggregation, the international community is giving a clear signal of their support so the 2030 Agenda does not become another missed opportunity for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in international development.
The full text of the Statement:
“I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of a group of countries Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Finland, Iceland, Jamaica, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Panama, Poland, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia and my own country New Zealand.
Our countries wish to make three important points:
Firstly, we strongly recommend the Washington Group Short Set of Questions to be used as the tool to disaggregate data by disability, particularly in household surveys and national censuses.
The 2030 Agenda, Sustainable Development Goal 17.18, requires Member States to disaggregate data by disability. The Washington Group Short Set of Questions is an appropriate and broadly tested methodology already in place to disaggregate data by disability.
We urge the United Nations Statistical Division to utilise the Washington Group Short Set of Questions and expeditiously recommend this tool to National Statistical Offices and the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goals Indicators. Delays in doing so could have detrimental consequences to the implementation process of the SDGs, which will subsequently leave persons with disabilities uncounted and behind.
Secondly, we call for the continued establishment of focal points on persons with disabilities in UN agencies, as well as the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Strategic Plans and reporting and indicator frameworks of UN agencies, in line with both the CRPD and Agenda 2030.
The full and effective implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by State Parties and the UN cannot be achieved if the rights of persons with disabilities are not mainstreamed across the UN system. Despite the commitments contained in the CRPD and more recently, Agenda 2030, we understand that some UN agencies are preparing to scale-down, or have not established, focal points on persons with disabilities. These roles are crucial to mainstreaming disability issues across the Agenda and leaving no-one behind.
Finally, we wish to commend the COSP Bureau for their leadership in the implementation of Article 4.3 of the CRPD, the full and meaningful participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the preparation and the official programme of this year’s Conference.
We urge Member States to maintain this practice in the future.