European Commissioner Mimica: We stay committed to Disability Inclusive Development

Representatives of the European Disability Forum (EDF) and of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) met last week with European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Mimica to discuss European development cooperation and the rights of persons with disabilities.

IDDC and EDF reflected on the progress which has been made in recent years in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities in EU external action.

Commisisoner Mimica sees the current review process of the EU’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as an opportunity to highlight the progress which has been made on disability inclusive development, and also a chance to point out the next steps the EU should take in order to fully embrace the CRPD. A Communication from the EU at this point would be a strong signal to EU institutions and Delegations that concrete actions need to be taken now to ensure that all of EU development cooperation is truly inclusive and accessible.

Key strategies the Commissioner highlighted in order to make this a reality were the upcoming joint programming processes with partner countries; continuing and reinforcing support to civil society organisations and organisations of persons with disabilities; and ensuring that the implementation and monitoring of EU aid measures its effectiveness in reaching persons with disabilities.

IDDC highlighted the support the EU has given to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the negotiations in New York around the Sustainable Development Goals. The Commissioner pointed out that the EU would continue to support a fully inclusive Post-2015 framework, and put in place initiatives to support its implementation— such as training of EU staff, and using key events like World Disability Day (3rd December) to raise public and political awareness of Disability Inclusive Development. We also discussed ways to further strengthen the draft framework which is currently under discussion. Additionally, the Commissioner recognised the importance of the rights of persons with disabilities to be reflected in the outcome of the Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa next July.

2015 marks also the European Year for Development, making it an ideal time to ensure a strengthened approach to EU disability-inclusive development, and to ensure that the next EU Disability Action Plan will describe concrete steps to make EU development cooperation effectively inclusive and accessible. The Commissioner is willing to take a leading role in galvanising and harmonising the support for this disability-inclusive development within the EU. It is important to note that the EU and its member states have all signed the CCRPD, and the Post-2015 framework gives rise to the possibility of a joint, aligned approach between them, aiming for disability-inclusive development cooperation.

IDDC and EDF will continue to work together and advocate for the full implementation of the CRPD in International Cooperation and look forward to ongoing cooperation with Commissioner Mimica.

SOURCE: IDDC Consortium