COSP17 Day 2 Round-Up

12 June 2024

Today was the first official day of the three-day 17th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (COSP17).

Our morning began in the very grand UN General Assembly. It was wonderful to spend time with our colleagues from other Australian organisations.

Lisa is sitting in the UN General Assembly with Grant Lindsay, the President and Chair of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations. Grant is wearing a black jacket and has an ear piece on his ear. Lisa is wearing a green dress and is holding an ear piece to her ear.

The session commenced with seven speakers making opening remarks, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Heba Hagrass, and the Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame.

The general debate followed, with a range of countries presenting the achievements they had made in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and areas where more work is needed.

Australia's own, The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), highlighted the successes of Australia's NDIS and how it is centred on the social, rather than medical, model of disability. Minister Shorten also made a strong call for the international community to ensure that the upcoming Summit of the Future event delivers outcomes that are inclusive of people with disability.

Later in the day, Giancarlo de Vera and Lisa Ira splintered off to attend as many side events as they could. Giancarlo attended a side event organised by the League of Arab States, Ministry of Social Solidarity-Egypt, the International Disability Alliance and the United Nations Populations Fund, on a very topical issue regarding the rights of people with disability in Gaza, the same day that Hamas accepted the UN ceasefire resolution.

Giancarlo also attended another a side event organised by Malta's Permanent Mission to the UN, that explored developing and promoting a Commonwealth Disability Inclusion Action Plan. Daniel Munter from Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) gave a fantastic speech at the side event.

Daniel Munter (CYDA) speaking at Malta's Permanent Mission to the UN side event on developing a Commonwealth Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

Meanwhile, Lisa attended the European Union to the UN's side event on the role of Strategies for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This session was very timely, as Lisa has recently drafted PWDA's submission to the Australian Government's draft National Autism Strategy.

Five panellists from the Strategies for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are sitting at a table next to each other and smiling. Each panellist has a computer and microphone in front of them.

After this session, Lisa attended the Belgium Permanent Mission to the UN's side event on Mobilising State parties, employers and worker organisations for Article 27 of the UNCRPD – the right to work for persons with disabilities. It was fascinating to learn about Spain's disability talent program, which has helped 9,000 people with disability to find employment each year.

At the end of the day, it was time to settle in and listen to Women with Disabilities Australia's online side event on their amazing new website, Neve, created by and for women, girls and gender diverse people with disability to help prevent violence.

If you would like to catch some online side events you can access the links here:

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