Today, 25 September 2017, marks the second anniversary of the adoption of the landmark 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This “was the first time in history that we as human beings reached consensus on the future of development” as expressed by UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo. The sentiment was that we could be the first generation to succeed in ending poverty everywhere. For persons with disabilities, there was an unprecedented level of inclusion and representation with 11 explicit references in the Agenda, seven of which are found in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This represented a significant step forward for persons with disabilities in international development in contrast to the absence of references in the preceding Millennium Development Goals.
What has happened since the adoption of this ambitious global agenda? Let us look back and reflect on advances and remaining gaps.
Since the adoption, a global SDG indicator framework has been developed in which there are 11 explicit references to persons with disabilities and disability. Concurrently, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction indicators were developed and adopted on 2 February, 2017. The Sendai indicators measure global progress on reducing disaster losses and are linked to the SDG indicator framework. Both sets of indicators together will help to develop and guide implementation plans at the country level where the real difference for inclusion has to be made.
Persons with disabilities have been actively involved in the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda, in particular at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) with more than 50 participants with disabilities in attendance this year. Persons with disabilities have taken a role in leadership in the coordination mechanism of the HLPF; cbm strongly supports this approach. It is important that persons with disabilities continue to meaningfully participate in this forum, and in the development of all national plans, reviews and reports.
In that regard, it is important to recall that the 2030 Agenda is meant to be a people-centered process, truly of, by, and for the people. Keeping in line with the Agenda’s main tenant of “leave no one behind,” persons with disabilities are at the forefront and center of the process keeping with the spirit of disability movement’s theme “nothing about us without us.” cbm will continue to play its part in making these two mottos a reality.