CoSP 11: We must strengthen the UN System's capacity to advance our rights


Catalina Devandas addressing the plenary at the CoSP 11
12 June 2017
Conference Room 4, UNHQ New York

Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President,
ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to begin by thanking the Bureau for the invitation to participate once again in the opening of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The theme that brings us together this year sums up well a concern shared by all of us here: To leave no one behind in the implementation of the Convention.
Leaving no one behind requires to pay attention to the diversity within the diversity, ensuring the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by all persons with disabilities.
This is an objective that 177 States have adopted when ratifying the Convention, but also an obligation of the United Nations System by virtue of its founding Charter.
However, we must ask ourselves: Are we prepared to not leave any person with disabilities behind?
The short answer is no.
We have made progress, but the promise of change brought by the Convention is not reaching everyone in the same way. The CRPD has made it possible to position the rights of persons with disabilities in the international and national agendas, but there are still important limitations in the formulation and implementation of public policies that respond to the demands and needs of the diversity of people with disabilities. The difficulties are varied and complex, including:
• Difficulties in the diagnosis and delimitation of problems;
• Several intervention models that need to be rethought;
• insufficient technical capacity of the operators;
• The lack of coherence and coordination among agencies, programmes and stakeholders;
• insufficient statistical and administrative information;
• financing and sustainability problems;
• insufficient mechanisms for measuring results; and
• lack of mechanisms to ensure participation and accountability.
The United Nations System has a key role to play in support of the efforts of nations to respond to the increasing demands for public interventions of better and higher quality.  But in order to be effective, the system’s difficulties and shortcomings need to be tackled, and its capacities strengthened.
Three years ago, we raised in this same space the need to consider the adoption of a System-wide Action Plan to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities, to tackle all these difficulties and maximize the impact of the United Nations as a strategic partner of States. The SWAP would set specific mechanisms, indicators and goals, which can strengthen the quality and coherence of actions undertaken by the system, making it more participatory, transparent and accountable.
Last year, we also raised the need to improve the procedures for disability data collection in the United Nations System, and we urged the United Nations Statistical Commission to define the methodologies needed for the disaggregation of data by disability.
Secretary General António Guterres announced important decisions towards ensuring the accessibility and mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities through all operations of the United Nations System, including the adoption of policy, an action plan and a mechanism for accountability.
I want to publicly acknowledge these encouraging decisions. It shows the Secretary General’s leadership and commitment to reforming the United Nations System, making its human rights and development efforts more effective and inclusive. This is an ambitious and far-reaching proposal, which can mean a turning point in fulfilling our common goal of leaving no one behind.
I would like to call on the States to support this process, which will be beneficial for all. The United Nations can and should become a strategic ally to realize the rights of persons with disabilities.
Mr. Secretary General, delegates and delegates,
Everyone--the United Nations, the States and persons with disabilities themselves--have irreplaceable roles to play to make our rights a reality. Only by working together we will be able to build societies that are inclusive of all people, with and without disabilities, in which each of us has the opportunity to develop and contribute in our communities with dignity, autonomy and independence. Only by working together will we fulfill our common goal of leaving no one behind.
Thank you very much.


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