Inclusion of people with disabilities in Agenda 2030

As Kenya joins the rest of the world in marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December, I reflect on the opportunities presented to persons with disabilities by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which Kenya ratified in 2008. Indeed, the theme of the celebration is ‘Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want’- a specific reference to the SDGs.

The SDGs represent a commitment by States to ensure that all persons lead decent and dignified lives to achieve their full human potential. Historically, persons with disabilities have not been effectively included in the global development agenda as evidenced in the Millennium Development Goals which did not make reference to persons with disabilities.

The SDGs, on the other hand, make seven references to persons with disabilities and also their empowerment as a vulnerable group. This has redefined the way governments globally perceive persons with disabilities as part of their broader strategy to ensure inclusive development.

One of the ways of building an inclusive society that is capable to adapt to differences and to value diversity is through developing and implementing inclusive policies and development programs. The CRPD represents a paradigm shift on the human rights of persons with disabilities to ensure their inclusion in the society on an equal basis with others. This raises pertinent concerns on the inclusion of persons with disabilities when as a country we continue to legislate on laws which deprive persons with disabilities their right to liberty on the basis of disability, allow for their forced institulization and deprivation of legal capacity.

The SDGs provide a comprehensive framework on implementation and monitoring and has 17 goals, 169 targets all measured using 231 global indicators. I strongly believe that also due to their universal application (both in developed and developing countries) and national ownership from various member States, there will be a better commitment to integrate the SDGs into both regional and national development frameworks.

To this end, I would like to commend the Kenyan government which has already launched a roadmap to implement the SDGs and also announced its interest in presenting voluntary national reviews regarding implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. It is however important for the government to fully and effectively consult and involve organizations of persons with disabilities in this process. This is even critical for organizations of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities who are highly marginalized in development processes in the country.

The implementation of the SDGs will require the availability of disaggregated data whose inadequacy has currently posed a huge problem in ensuring disability inclusive development programs. It is therefore imperative to build the capacity of all institutions mandated to collect data, to ensure that they are able to collect disaggregated data on all persons with disabilities, whether visible or invisible, to ensure that no one is left behind.

There is also an overall need to improve the capacity among organizations of persons with disabilities to advocate within a human rights framework for the implementation of the SDGs and how to ensure they are compliant with the CRPD.

I therefore call upon the government to consult organizations of persons with disabilities in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs and more so in the reporting process as the State prepares for voluntary national review during the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2017.

Source: The Star

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