Back to: Ouagadougou Report
The sub-regional consultative meeting on the draft international convention on the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities held in Ouagadougou – Burkina Faso from 27 to 29 October 2004 had three main objectives: (i) to share information on the on-going negotiation process, on the content of the draft convention, on its implications and discussions; (ii) to establish a dialogue to clarify the sub-regional priorities with respect to the convention; (iii) to launch the initiative of a partnership project to establish a network of information on disability in Western Africa involving and benefiting all actors involved.
All participants express their satisfaction with respect to the draft convention clearly recognizing the juridical status of persons with disabilities. In general terms, the ratification of the convention by the countries in the sub-region should be straightforward. On the other hand, the implementation of the provisions of the convention could be made difficult by the level of economic and political development of the Western African countries as well as their lack of resources. The need for strengthening the capacity of the organizations by and for persons with disabilities – particularly those of women with disabilities - and their role in the implementation of the convention must be reaffirmed. The creation of monitoring mechanisms as well as the systematic involvement of all agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations is considered a priority. The working groups by participants brought to the elaboration of specific recommendations on the following articles: article 7 – Equality and non discrimination; article 15 – Living independently and being included in the community; article 17 – Education; article 19 – Accessibility; article 21 – Right to health and rehabilitation.
The issue of the creation of a sub-regional information network to benefit disability stakeholders was widely discussed. The network will have the following objectives: (i) to exchange, share, disseminate and coordinate the information related to the negotiation process and implementation of the future convention; (ii) to build and strengthen the capacity of disability actors; (iii) to widen the visibility of the organizations by and for persons with disabilities, to support their actions and build their capacity and (iv) to establish and improve synergies of intervention. In relation to the establishment of the network five priorities have been identified: (i) establishment of national networks and preparation of a document on them; (ii) identification of a focal point in each country; (iii) allocation of the necessary resources to the actors; (iv) establishment of a structure independent by existing organizations and institutions to ensure the management of the network; (v) commitment of actors in the establishment of the network; (vi) strengthening of the WAFOD (Western African Federation of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities) the latter not unanimously supported.
At the end of the meeting the priorities identified by the participants are five:
1. Implementation of a multi-sectoral study on the characteristics, the socio-economic situation and living conditions of persons with disabilities.
2. Strengthening of the capacity of intervention and partnership of disability actors (Governments, organizations by and for persons with disabilities, professionals).
3. Promotion of inclusive education and literacy as means towards equalization of opportunities and fight against discrimination.
4. Inclusion in all curricula of the need for awareness raising and information on disability issues.
5. Development of programmes for the socio-economic inclusion of persons with disabilities in the framework of the promotion of income-generating activities.
The participants made three requests to the United Nations:
1. That the United Nations help member states in the implementation of the future convention through material, technical and financial support
2. That a mechanism of information, education and communication be put in place through a network covering from the local to the international level including the national and sub-regional levels, benefiting from both modern technologies and traditional systems.
3. That the United Nations supports the integration by donor countries of issues related to persons with disabilities in development and poverty reduction programmes.