ROUNDTABLE 2: THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA AND INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
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The International Development Law Organization – the only inter-governmental organization exclusively devoted to advancing the rule of law – greatly appreciates the opportunity to participate in this High-Level Meeting, and to share its views and experience on "inclusiveness" as a crucial factor in achieving sustainable development.
We in IDLO strongly believe that the post-2015 Development Agenda must, to deliver on its promise of a renewed drive to address comprehensively all factors that serve to advance and sustain development, tackle the key, cross-cutting issue of inequality – in other words, that the new Development Agenda must “leave no one behind”. This is not only to benefit those who have been invisible in past development agendas, particularly persons with disabilities. It is also an important condition for the achievement of future development goals. Equity is a crucial component of progress -- of the "economic and social progress" that the UN Charter sets as one of the basic aims of this Organization -- and is crucial to its sustainability.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one of the most significant recent achievements of this Organization and the Outcome Document from this High-level Meeting will certainly represent a major step forward. However, more -- much more -- remains to be done to put into practice the aims of the Convention -- to allow persons with disabilities to realize their rights and enable them to live, with dignity, fulfilling and productive lives.
The ratification and implementation of the Convention is providing significant opportunities for the development of an enabling legal environment to uphold disability rights. However -- and I am echoing here a point also stressed in the background document for this Roundtable -- even where laws have been enacted to advance the status of persons with disabilities, supportive regulatory frameworks and resources for implementation are often severely lacking.
IDLO knows from its work around the world that the rule of law can play a crucial role in closing the gap between international commitments and practice. There are indeed many ways in which the rule of law can help the international community move towards a disability-inclusive sustainable development path, where persons with disabilities are treated equally, and contribute to, and benefit equally from, development outcomes. An obvious, immediate focus should be on translating into policies, laws and regulations the Convention’s strong emphasis on equal access to justice for persons with disabilities.
An integral part of IDLO's commitment to the rule of law and to furthering a culture of justice is to work towards societies where all members are able to participate effectively in decision-making processes, and where all persons have equal access to resources and services, including equal access to legal systems and to quality and affordable legal services.
Good rule of law frameworks based on participatory approaches can be powerful enablers of rights for persons with disabilities, for example through the use of legal empowerment techniques, legal education and legal awareness. IDLO’s work with marginalized groups, such as individuals living with HIV, has shown the central importance of the law in addressing discrimination, leading to more effective outcomes in relation to delivery of public services, such as healthcare.
As the adoption of a post-2015 Development Agenda draws nearer, IDLO is committed to playing its part to support the international community in framing a disability-inclusive agenda that embraces the rule of law and justice to achieve fair and sustainable development. IDLO is equally committed to contributing, within its mandate, to what we hope will be a concerted follow-up effort to this High-Level meeting geared to building a world where justice and progress are a reality for all.