Sophie de Caen Remarks in Side event to the 9th Conference of the state Parties to CRPD

Jun 16, 2016

Sophie de Caen
Deputy Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States
Talking Points
Urban Development and Human Resilience: An Essential approach towards Inclusive Cities for Persons with Disabilities in the Arab Region
Side event to the 9th Conference of the state Parties to CRPD, 16 June2016,01.11 - 11.30 am
UN Headquarters, Conference Room: 11

It is an honor to be here to help open this important side event to the 9th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD, on Inclusive Cities for Persons with Disabilities in the Arab States Region, and on the Kuwait 2035 Vision towards persons with Disabilities.

I thank the Permanent Mission of Kuwait for convening this meeting and also for Kuwait’s leadership on promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, in Kuwait itself, across the region and indeed around the world.

We are meeting at an important time for our work with and in support of people with disabilities. At the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States we salute the efforts of all gathered here, and we join you in working towards a region that is more inclusive in every way, not least for the many among us with disabilities who have faced exclusion for far too long.

I salute in particular the Government of Kuwait for its bold 2035 Vision for Persons with Disability and its Public Authority for Disabled Affairs, as well as the Arab Forum for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Arab States Regional Office of Disabled People International for their steadfast promotion of the rights of persons with disability, even at a moment when the region is faced with so many challenges.

The UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States joins you in these efforts. I am proud to say that in Kuwait, we are supporting the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, and the Public Authority for Disabled Affairs, on the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy in support of the disabled and in support of their full integration in every aspect of society.

In other countries across the Arab States and indeed around the world we are promoting the rights of disabled people, through such interventions as: supporting disability-inclusive legal frameworks in line with international standards; supporting ratification and implementation of the CRPD; ensuring strong social protection policies that protect the rights of disabled persons; and developing partnerships with national authorities, national human rights institutions and Disabled Peoples Organizations.

This is in line with UNDP’s Strategic Plan and is also now given a powerful push by Agenda 2030, which offers a strong framework for addressing inequalities and exclusion for everyone including those with disabilities.

UNDP and our partners such as Kuwait are committed to promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.

The discussion here today is an important aspect of this overall push, with an on how resilient urban development can be made more inclusive. This is crucial at a time when across the Arab States, more and more people are living in urban contexts, rural-urban migration continues to accelerate, and a great many people can be given a lift if Arab States improve their approach to making cities more livable, more inclusive, and more sustainable. Of note for the discussion today, this approach must contain a focus on more effectively meeting the needs of people and communities migrating into cities, especially the disabled among them, who too often suffer in the transition from rural to urban areas due to the lack of inclusive options for housing, employment, education and other basic needs and services.

Though this is not the focus of today’s discussion, it is also vital that we keep clearly in mind the needs of people with disabilities who are now also impacted by crisis. At UNDP we have several projects supporting people with disabilities to regain livelihoods in Syria, for example, and we aim to share these story of this work as much as we can so that it can be expanded there and in neighboring countries.

Agenda 2030 also reminds us to leave no one behind, in cities or in the countryside -- all must be given a fair chance to contribute to sustainable development, to participate in public life, to access quality public services, and to contribute to more inclusive and resilient economies.

Let us take this discussion today as an opportunity to reflect on that priority, that agreement, and resolve to work more effectively in the months and years ahead to deliver on the promise of sustainable development, including by making our cities more inclusive for all. 


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