Nordic side event on independent living at the UN meeting on disability rights
9 Jun 2021
Next week the conference of state parties to the UN Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, will take place virtually at United Nations in New York. Several of the Nordic countries have taken the opportunity to hold side events to raise important issues. The governments of Finland, Denmark and the Nordic Council of Ministers host a side event on independent living and inclusion in society.
All countries that have ratified the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, meet to discuss progress and challenges of its implementation. In parallell to the official meeting, there is a rich programme of side events.
Focus on independent living
The governments of Finland and Denmark, together with the Nordic Council of Ministers, is organising the side event Building Back Better by Strengthening the Implementation of Article 19 of the UNCRPD on June 17 at 8.30 local New York time (14.30 CEST).
The focus of the event is Article 19 of the convention, living independently and being included in the community, and the ambition and strategy of the countries to build back better after the pandemic and strengthen the rights to an indenpendent life for persons with disabilities.
The theme is prioritised during the Finnish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2021, and for the Council of Nordic Cooperation on Disability.
– Article 19 is one of the most fundamental articles of the convention. It is about the capacity of the social sector with person centered service and support, preconditions for community based living, says Maria Montefusco, Senior Adviser at Nordic Welfare Centre and Secretary of The Council of Nordic Cooperation on Disability.
Nordic welfare knowledge
Inclusion is a stated right, a corner stone of Nordic modern welfare policies and also a pre-condition for sustainable development. The CRPD provides a toolbox for reaching the goals of inclusion, to ensure that no one with disability is left behind. The implementation of Article 19 is also interconnected with other articles of the convention, and SDG:s of Agenda 2030.
– The Nordic countries have experience and knowledge in this area of welfare policy that might be of interest for other countries. But at the same time we have gaps and reasons to continue developing services and support measures, says Maria Montefusco.
She stresses the need of the Nordic countries to raise awareness on the rights and change attitudes towards persons with disabilities.
– We need to build communities according to the principle of universal design, not least in the post pandemic recovery phase, says Maria Montefusco.
Post pandemic visions
The event will be opened by Finlands Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, Krista Kiuru, and Denmarks Minister for Social Affairs and the Interior, Astrid Krag. A third opening statement will be held by Dr Floyd Morris, member of the Committe on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
– The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that more actions are needed to ensure that the obligations of the UNCRPD are fulfilled, says Krista Kiuru, Finlands Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services.
Professor Emerita Rannveig Traustadóttir, University of Iceland, will talk about the need of knowledge about the convention, how the implementation can be pushed forward and monitored and what kind of knowledge we still lack.
Civil society represented
The event will also include representatives from civil society organisations in the Nordic countries representing persons with disabilities. Line Skåtøy, Chair person for The Norwegian Association of Youth with Disabilities, will focus on involving children and young people and Dr Adolf Ratzka, founding Director Emeritus of the Independent Living Institute, Sweden, is going to talk about the challenges and opportunities of independent living.
Susanne Broman, Åland Disability Federation, will raise the issue of how to build inclusive cities and communities.
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