Contribution for an inclusive post-2015 development agenda (working document)
The Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPcwd) comprises over 240 organizations, including international, national, and local NGOs, Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs), governments, universities and private sector enterprises, working to advance the rights of the roughly 100 million children with disabilities who are disproportionately poor, significantly less likely to attend school, and more likely to experience violence and poor health. The GPcwd members are convinced that in order to ensure these rights, the Post-2015 Development Agenda must be inclusive of children and adults with disabilities.
The UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals report outlines proposed goals that cut across many sectors. The report explicitly recognizes the importance of including vulnerable and excluded groups that have been left behind by development in the past. GPcwd members appreciate the fact that people with disabilities, who tend to be among the poorest and most excluded of groups, are recognized in the report.
Based on the OWG report and its proposed goals and targets, GPcwd presents some important considerations to ensure that children and adults with disabilities are not left behind. We call for specific indicators to the proposed goals and targets so children with disabilities are included and progress is measured across all goals. To this end it is of utmost importance to have data disaggregated by disability across all areas of post 2015. Disaggregated data on disability will encourage governments to take deliberate action to address the inequalities faced by person with disabilities and to report progress made over the next 15 years.
It is important to emphasise that principles such as safety, protection from harm, equity, freedom from poverty, and inclusion embodied in the proposed Post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs) apply to allchildren. Therefore, all efforts to achieve these goals must be made in an inclusive manner taking into account the necessary requirements for allchildren to survive, thrive and realise their rights. However, children with disabilities at times face specific challenges and vulnerabilities that must be explicitly addressed.
The GPcwd calls for retention of existing references on disability in the OWG report and further strengthening of targets with regards to inclusion so that children with disabilities are not left behind. To ensure that the inclusion of children with disabilities is visible and measured in the post 2015, it is of utmost importance to disaggregate indicators by disability across all goals and targets.
Nutrition. On SDG 2 on Food Security, target 2.2 refers to “end all forms of malnutrition, including… stunting and wasting in children under five years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls...” Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition as discrimination (even within families in regards to food distribution) and other barriers can limit their access to nutritious food. Indicators on children with disabilities should be considered under this target.
Assistive Technologies. Currently there is no mention of assistive devices or rehabilitation in the OWG proposal, although they are often essential for inclusion. By and large, health insurance and social protection programs do not provide these. Instead, children with disabilities often must rely on family resources or NGOs.
GPcwd proposes that, under SDG 3 on Health, target 3.8 on health coverage should include “health products” for all.
Inclusive Education. GPcwd appreciates that SDG 4 on Education, targets 4.5 and 4.a make specific references to disability. It is important that inclusive quality learning covers all levels of education including early childhood, primary and secondary, and tertiary education and vocational training. Indicators should specifically measure school enrollment of children with disabilities, access to physical environment and learning materials, number of teachers trained as well as number of children with disabilities out-of-school, among others.
Early Childhood Development (ECD). SDG4 on Education, target 4.2 related to ECD is “ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality ECD, care and pre-primary education…”. This is critically important for girls and boys with disabilities. Children deprived of parental, family care or quality ECD support can experience lifelong harm, in some instances causing or exacerbating existing disabilities. Early intervention greatly diminishes the impact of disability or chronic health problems. Therefore we call for specific indicators on inclusive quality ECD to all children, including those with disabilities.
Child Protection. SDG 4 on Education (4.a) and SDG 5 on Gender Equality (5.2) refers to end of violence against children. Also SDG 16 on Peaceful and Inclusive Societies, target 16.2 is “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children”. Children with disabilities, and to an even greater extent, those in institutional care and those affected by conflict and emergency situations, are particularly vulnerable to violence, exploitation and severe neglect. Indicators related to these targets should make specific reference to children with disabilities.
Leadership and Mentoring. Leadership and mentoring programs are not included in the OWG Proposal, although they can be a powerful mechanism for helping children and youth with disabilities be successful in school and in the school to work transition. We propose than on SDG 4, target 4.5 is strengthened by including mentoring. It would read “… access to all levels of education, vocational and mentoring for vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations. Indicators should reflect this addition.
Physical Activity. SDG 11, target 11.7 proposes to “provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.” Considering that sport and recreational facilities are particularly important for children with disabilities, both in terms of their health and their social integration, we propose a specific indicator for this target on number of recreational facilities accessible to children and adults with disabilities.
Inclusive Humanitarian Action. GPcwd appreciates the reference to the Rio+20 Charter, paragraph 16 in the introduction of OWG report that states that effective measures and actions should be taken “to remove obstacles and constraints, strengthen support and meet the special needs of people living in areas affected by complex humanitarian emergencies and in areas affected by terrorism.” Another major area of humanitarian action is disaster risk reduction and relief, which is a growing concern due to climate change. Climate change is having the biggest impact on the poorest and most vulnerable people, which includes children and adults with disabilities. To monitor SDG13 on Climate Change, an indicator on the inclusion of people with disabilities in disaster planning and risk reduction activities should be considered.
Means of implementation. Within SDG 17 on “Strengthening the means of implementation …”, target 17.18 calls for enhanced capacity building support to developing countries to increase the availability of high quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated, including by disability and age. GPcwd appreciates and reinforces the importance of disaggregating data by disability and age as the lack of data on children with disabilities is often cited as a barrier for inclusion. It is of critical importance that disability inclusive indicators are developed and that data is used to establish an evidence base to inform programming and policy that is inclusive of children with disabilities.
The Post-2015 Development Agenda provides us an opportunity to truly ensure a framework that is inclusive of all and to address and overcome the barriers that children with disabilities face. The GPcwd advocates that children and adults with disabilities be considered and included in all relevant goals and targets within this agenda.
Statements by thematic area: