Mr. Eliott Harris Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist

Statement at the Interactive Dialogue on Implementation of the Convention between States Parties and the UN System (Agenda Item 6)
Eleventh Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Department of Economic and Social Affair – UN DESA, I am honoured to join this interactive dialogue among States Parties, the UN system, as well as representatives from the civil society on the implementation of the Convention, and to share with you the on-going efforts of our Department in this regard.

As the development pillar arm of the UN Secretariat, DESA works to promote the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for all.

As the global focal point on disability in the United Nations system, DESA has also been entrusted with the mandate to advance the status of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development. Our work has focused on promoting the goals and objectives of the Convention and its implementation, through mainstreaming disability in the 2030 Agenda, providing evidence-based policy guidance and building multi-stakeholder partnerships for the implementation of the Convention, and enhancing the capacity of governments to develop disability-inclusive policies and strategies for development.

More recently, in the context of the UN Reform, DESA has taken action to reorganize the work of the subprograms in the Department to better support Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other globally agreed development agendas. Throughout the process, disability issues continue to be an important part of the work of UNDESA. The Division for Inclusive Social Development and the UN Statistics Division will continue to lead the disability work in the Department.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In the past year, our efforts for the promotion of the goals and objectives of the Convention and its implementation has been manifold and focused on identifying and building upon the interlinkages across the Convention and the broader post-2015 development paradigm that shapes current economic, social and humanitarian action, and reaching the furthest left behind for the achievement of the SDGs for all.

With DESA’s support to the intergovernmental processes concerning disability matters, the 72nd session of the General Assembly adopted a resolution concerning the implementation of the Convention with a focus on the situation of women and girls with disabilities; at the 54th session of the Commission for Social Development this January, a panel discussion on the theme “Towards inclusive, resilient and sustainable development: an evidence-based approach to the mainstreaming of disability in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Agenda 2030” was organized, which called for a number of steps to improve the evidence based monitoring processes toward the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Convention.

In addition to its analytical work in support of intergovernmental processes, in 2017, DESA has continued to lead the preparation of the first-ever UN flagship report on disability and development, through collaborations with experts from Member States, UN agencies, International Financial Institutions, organisations of persons with disabilities, and research institutes. Scheduled for release later this year, this report will provide an evidence-base for making further progress towards disability-inclusive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will be the first publication on disability and the SDGs at the global level.

This year, DESA has also served as the co-Chair of the UN Inter-Agency Support Group for the CRPD and the co- Chair of the UN Partnership Fund on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN PRPD) — Promoting the coordination and synergies among UN agencies, funds and programmes in supporting the implementation of the Convention, as well as mobilizing financial resources for UN Country Teams to implement joint UN programmes to advance the rights of persons with disabilities on the ground.

To better facilitate the implementation of the Convention at the national level, DESA continues to provide cooperation to support Governments in increasing its capacity to effect disability-inclusive legislation, policies and programmes in line with the Convention as well as the provision of trainings and workshops for government officials, policy makers and representatives of organisations of persons with disabilities. One of the key areas of technical cooperation in this past year focused on disability statistics, in order to respond to the call from the 2030 Agenda for data disaggregated by disability and for building the capacity of countries in this regard.

In response, DESA has increased the efforts started in 2015 to support Member States to collect and use disability data through a number of activities, including regional workshops and the provision of technical assistance. In particular, UNDESA/UNSD has organized one sub-regional meeting last year for Latin American countries, to complete a total of 6 regional and sub-regional meetings in the past 2 years. These meetings also covered countries in East/South East Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, Arabic speaking countries, North and Central Asia and the Western Balkan States. In total, the meetings have brought together 191 participants, representing 89 countries, including representatives from national statistical offices and some government agencies in charge of disability policy.

In addition, in the past year, UNSD has collected data on disability from 104 countries and is currently working on a wider dissemination through a web-portal that will enable the visualization of these data to inform on national situations regarding prevalence, and the socio-economic and living conditions of persons with disabilities.

The Department has also started work to revise and update the UN Guidelines and Principles for the Development of Disability Statistics, that was first published in 2001 and is now being reviewed in the context of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The revised publication will provide guidance on how to produce statistics on disability and will enable countries to better meet demands for good quality data to measure and monitor progress towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities in development.

DESA will continue to assist developing countries to build the capacity of their national statistical systems to produce robust and fit-for-purpose official disability statistics taking into account the results of the analysis of the data that UNSD is compiling globally and the revised Guidelines and Principles for the Development of Disability Statistics.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In the coming years, DESA will continue to support Member States and other major stakeholders to make progress in disability-inclusive development in line with the Convention, the 2030 Agenda, and other relevant global commitments.

Leaving no one behind, we will continue to promote of the rights, perspectives, and leaderships of persons with disabilities in society and development, to achieve the SDGs for all.

We, at DESA, stand ready to support Governments and all stakeholders to this end.

I thank you.

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