IDA IDDC press release on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda

Disability-specific references in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda


IDA IDDC Press Release Addis Ababa Action Agenda Final July 21 2015

The International Disability Allliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) welcome the concrete references to persons with disabilities, inclusive education and accessibility in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

 

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda contains 6 explicit references to persons with disabilities and disability, 1 to “inclusive education”, 1 to “inclusive learning environment” and 2 to “accessible” technologies and infrastructures.

 

In addition to these disability-specific references, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda also includes a number of references to “inclusive” (e.g. “inclusive growth”, “inclusive societies”), a number of references to “access” (e.g. access to beneficial ownership information) and an additional one to “accessibility” of data (Para 128).

 

The Millennium Development Goals failed to improve the livelihood of persons with disabilities: they were not mentioned in any of the 8 Goals or the attendant 21 Targets or 60 Indicators of the current MDGs. The references to persons with disabilities, disability-inclusive education and accessibility in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda represent an important opportunity to contribute to inclusion and to leaving no-one behind in the Financing for Development agenda and in the wider post-2015 framework.

IDA and IDDC are grateful to all UN Member States that supported and promoted the rights of persons with disabilities during the negotiation process and we count on their continued support as we enter the implementation phase.

With the references to disability, inclusion and accessibility in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, governments have given visibility to one billion persons with disabilities worldwide, of whom 80% live in low-income countries. Persons with disabilities are mentioned in the following areas of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which are very important in the fight against poverty and the empowerment of marginalised people: social protection, employment, education, infrastructure, technology and data.

However, it is important to recognise that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda could have been far more ambitious in dealing with a number of challenging issues, including private finance, tax and Official Development Assistance. The lack of concrete commitments in these areas is likely to have a negative impact on the poorest and most marginalised people, including persons with disabilities.

Learn more:

Polly Meeks and Rachele Tardi, “After Addis Ababa: What lies ahead for ‘leave no one behind’?

https://www.devex.com/news/after-addis-ababa-what-lies-ahead-for-leave-no-one-behind-86573

Rachele Tardi, Light for the World Representative to the UN, Blog from Addis Ababa: https://racheletardi.wordpress.com

Outcome document of FFD3: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/CONF.227/L.1

Civil Society Response to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda: https://csoforffd.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/cso-response-to-ffd-addis-ababa-action-agenda-16-july-2015.pdf

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After the Addis Ababa Conference, the work is not over

My colleague Polly Meeks from ADD and I put together an article about the post- Addis Ababa Conference ““After Addis Ababa: What lies ahead for ‘leave no one behind’?”. You can read it here on Devex: https://www.devex.com/news/after-addis-ababa-what-lies-ahead-for-leave-no-one-behind-86573

The article recognizes how important it is to have specific references to persons with disabilities in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, but it also looks at the overall picture and provides some suggestions for the implementation phase.

The work is not over. Let’s not forget also that the last round of the Intergovernmental negotiations are now underway. Keep an eye on Elizabeth Lookwood’s blog for updates: http://blog.cbm.org/author/elizabethlockwood/

15 July: The Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreed

Last evening governments agreed on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda contains 6 explicit references to persons with disabilities and disability, 1 to “inclusive education”, 1 to “inclusive learning environment” and 2 to “accessible” technologies and infrastructures.

  •  Para 12 on “fiscally sustainable and nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, with a focus on those furthest below the poverty line and the vulnerable, persons with disabilities, indigenous persons, children, youth and older persons.”
  • Para 14 on facilitating the “development of sustainable, accessible and resilient quality infrastructure in developing countries through enhanced financial and technical support”.
  • Para 16 on encouraging “the full and equal participation of women and men, including persons with disabilities, in the formal labour market.”
  • Para 78 on inclusive education: “…This will require reaching children living in extreme poverty, children with disabilities, migrant and refugee children, and those in conflict and post-conflict situations, and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all. We will scale up investments and international cooperation to allow all children to complete free, equitable, inclusive and quality early childhood, primary and secondary education, including through scaling up and strengthening initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Education. We commit to upgrading education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and increasing the percentage of qualified teachers in developing countries, including through international cooperation, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States”.
  • Para 114 on “facilitating accessible technology for persons with disabilities”.
  • Para 126 on “high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by sex, age, geography, income, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, and other characteristics relevant in national contexts”.

These are very important references and the disability movement is very grateful for the support received from Member States during the process. Persons with disabilities were invisible in the MDGs and IDA and IDDC worked hard to ensure explicit disability references both in the SDGs and in the FfD.

In addition to these disability-specific references, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda also includes a number of references to “inclusive” (e.g. “inclusive growth”, “inclusive societies”), a number of references to “access” (e.g. access to beneficial ownership information) and an additional one to “accessibility” of data (Para 128).

However it’s important to recognize that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda could have been far more ambitious in dealing with a number of challeging issues, as stated in the CSO Response (link will be added when available), including private finance (see my previous post on PPPs) and tax. The lack of concrete commitments in these areas is likely to have a negative impact on the poorest and marginalized people, including persons with disabilities.

In relation to tax, IDA and IDDC endorsed Eurodad’s position paper on FfD, which included a call for the establishment of an intergovernmental, transparent, accountable, adequately resourced tax body with universal membership, which leads global deliberations on international tax cooperation. Although tax is not enough in itself, it is the most reliable source of financing for public services and strengthens the social contract between the government and the people.

I interviewed Joseph Stiglitz, one of the speakers at this morning’s side event on tax and justice for social justice , after the event and he told me that “Tax is important for governments to address the rights of persons with disabilities, of those marginalized people who can’t get an education, and in general to address all the problems of development”. He continued: “This is why this is a key issue: to make persons with disabilities, women, children included in our societies we need funds and the main source that is not conditioned, not random, is tax revenues.”

Despite the fact that IDA and IDDC advocacy work hasn’t focused directly on tax, as part of the wider FfD CSO group we have been supporting the battle on this major issue, together with the one for strong safeguards.

In the CSO Declaration, finalized over the weekend (see my previous post), when there was still some hope, CSO emphasized again “Such a body will strengthen the ability of developing countries to generate significant sustainable financing for development through, for example, combating corporate tax dodging in developing countries and balancing the allocation of taxing rights between source and residence countries”.

Are governments going to be able to uphold their responsibilities of leaving no one behind?

Yetnebersh Nigussie and Melaku Tekle, great speakers for the disability movement at the FFD3

Yetnebersh and Melaku from the Ethiopian Center for Disabiity and Development spoke respectively at the following side events, on behalf of IDA and IDDC:

Unlocking People’s Capacity as a Means of Implementation: The Human Face of Financing for Development

Investing in Youth & Ensuring Decent Jobs to Harness the Demographic Dividend on the Occasion of the First-Ever World Youth Skills Day

Yetnebersh emphasized that people’s participation will play a key role in contributing to the success of the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and of the whole post-2015. She stressed that people’s participation is central in ensuring accountability and transparency and therefore should be considered a key means of implementation.

Yetnebersh made two specific points:

  1. Participation and transparency are key principles for robust, effective, and inclusive accountability mechanisms for the FfD and post 2015 framework at all levels – from the local through to the global.
  2. For participation to be meaningful it must be inclusive of and accessible for persons with disabilities.

Melaku’s presentation during the side event that celebrated the first Youth Skills day on July 15 focused on the importance of creating opportunities for skills development for youth with disabilities. The side event was organized by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. On their website there is a short article of mine that focuses on inclusive skills development and the importance of participation skills:

http://www.un.org/youthenvoy/2015/07/talk-talk-youth-skills/

In the same panel with Melaku there was also a deaf girl, supported by Let girls lead—a global movement that aims to empower girls and that in Ethiopia works also with girls with disabilities, specifically with deaf ones.

You did a great job, Yetnebersh and Melaku! Many thanks to all the colleagues form the co-hosting / co-organizing CSOs who made the side events possible.

Is it a public or a private business?

 Yesterday, my second day at the Financing for Development Conference started with the side event organized by ODI on the the importance of public finance in eradicating poverty and it ended with an IDDC co-hosted side event on the costs and benefits of private financing in sustainable development.

During the FfD process, IDA and IDDC advocated for progressive increase of domestic and international resource allocation to ensure access to necessary disability support services, including social protection schemes aimed at the full inclusion of persons with disabilities. We know that public resources are not sufficient and that private sector ones are needed. This is why we also advocated for safeguards to be put in place to make sure that development assistance activities do not create or perpetuate legal, institutional, attitudinal, physical and ICT barriers to the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities.

Romilly Greenhill, one of the authors of the ODI’ report Financing the Future – How international public finance should fund a global social compact to eradicate poverty, highlighted that the global compact should focus on 3 key areas and that these should be funded by public money to ensure best results, which means that they reach the poorest and most marginalized:

  • Social protection for the poorest
  • Free basic universal healthcare
  • Free primary and secondary education for all.

In the latest draft of the Addis Ababa Agenda, Para 12 had good language on social protection: “we commit to a new social compact. In this effort, we will provide fiscally sustainable and nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, with a focus on those furthest below the poverty line and the vulnerable, persons with disabilities, indigenous persons, youth, and older persons.”

As for education, although Para 78 could be strengthened (see the recommendations by the Global Campaign for Education on Education and Financing), it is worth remembering that it underwent significant improvement given that previously it didn’t speak of “inclusive” education and there was no mention of children with disabilities.

“We recognize the importance of delivering quality education to all girls and boys to achieving sustainable development. This will require reaching children living in extreme poverty, children with disabilities, migrant and refugee children, and those in conflict and post-conflict situations, and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all. We will scale up investments and international cooperation to allow all children to complete free, equitable, inclusive and quality early childhood, primary and secondary education, including through scaling up and strengthening initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Education. We commit to upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and increase the percentage of qualified teachers in developing countries, including through international cooperation, especially in LDCs and SIDS.”

Overall ODI’s Recommendations for the FfD Conference are the following:

  • Commit rich countries to giving 0.7% of their national income in aid
  • Bring emerging economies into the system as contributors
  • Redirect 50% of foreign aid budgets towards poorest countries where aid is most needed
  • Develop smarter, more flexible and long-term ways to provide aid
  • Create or expand global funds for health and education in humanitarian crises and social protection.

The side event that we co-hosted in the afternoon on the private sector talked about the same issue, but from a different perspective, as it highlighted the risk of private financing and in particular PPPs (as we also stated in IDA IDDC policy paper on FFD).

The negotiating text of 19th June included good language on PPPs – that language has been watered down in the July 7 version (from the CSO statement drafted at the CSO Forum):

July 7 Para 48: We recognize that both public and private investment have key roles to play in infrastructure financing, including through development banks, development finance institutions and tools and mechanisms such as public private partnerships, blended finance, which combines concessional public finance with non-concessional private finance and expertise from the public and private sector, special purpose vehicles, nonrecourse project financing, risk mitigation instruments and pooled funding structures. Blended finance instruments including PPPs serve to lower investment specific risks and incentivize additional private sector finance across key development sectors led by regional, national and sub-national government policies and priorities for sustainable development. For harnessing the potential of blended finance instruments for sustainable development, careful consideration should be given to the appropriate structure and use of blended finance instruments. Projects involving blended finance, including PPPs, should share risks and reward fairly, include clear accountability mechanisms and meet social and environmental standards. We will therefore build capacity to enter into PPPs, including as regards planning, contract negotiation, management, accounting and budgeting for contingent liabilities. We also commit to hold inclusive, open and transparent discussion when developing and adopting guidelines and documentation for the use of PPPs, and to build a knowledge base and share lessons learned through regional and global fora.

June 19 Para 47: We recognize that both public and private investment have key roles to play in financing sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including through development banks and other development finance institutions. Blended finance, which pools concessional and non-concessional resources and expertise from the public and private sector, offers significant potential to contribute resources, expertise and technology transfer in support of sustainable development. It is, however, important that careful consideration be given to the appropriate use and structure of pooled financing instruments. Projects, including PPPs, should be transparent, provide affordable infrastructure services, share risks and rewards fairly, and be implemented following feasibility studies that demonstrate that they promote sustainable development, meet social and environmental standards and are the most effective modality, taking into account regional, national and sub-national policies and priorities. Blended financing vehicles, including PPPs, should include clear accountability mechanisms and should not replace or compromise state responsibilities. Governments should also ensure that such instruments do not lead to unsustainable debt burdens. We will strengthen capacity building for PPPs, including in planning, contract negotiation, management, accounting and budgeting for contingent liabilities. We encourage holding inclusive, open and transparent discussion on principles and guidelines for PPPs, and to build a knowledge base and share lessons learned through regional and global fora.

We heard that the only sticking point in the text is the issue of tax. However, the fight for strong safeguards for private sector investments must continue. Implementation is going to be key.

Addis Ababa CSO Declaration now available online

 

IDA and IDDC have been working closely with the wider CSO group during the FfD process, learning a lot from other organizations and, at the same time, raising awareness about the importance of looking at finance also through the lens of disability.

On Saturday and Sunday a number of colleagues from the disability movement from Ethiopian DPOs, from CBM Ethiopia, from ADA and from Inclusion International attended the CSO Forum. At the end of two intense days of discussions, the Addis Ababa CSO Declaration was finalized and endorsed at the Closing Session of the CSO FfD Forum.

The Declaration is now available on the CSO FfD Group website, together with the statement that CSO reps delivered yesterday at the opening segment of the FfD Plenary.

The Declaration presents the main overarching concerns of the CSO community about the lastest draft Addis Ababa Action Agenda, including the almost complete absence of time-bound actionable commitments, the red carpet provided for the private sector, the need to take into account – if the conference is to contribute to the means of implementation for the SDGs – the Rio principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR).

Overall, the feeling is that the conference on financing seems scaled up in terms of rhetoric but so far it hasn’t scaled up existing and new financial resources.

In the area of gender, the Women’s Group pointed out the strong tendency in the text towards the instrumentalization of women whose empowerment is predominantly framed as vital “to enhance economic growth and productivity”.

The Declaration reiterates the need for the “establishment of an intergovernmental, transparent, accountable, adequately resourced tax body with universal membership that could lead global deliberations on international tax cooperation, stop illicit financial flows and tackle corporate tax dodging”.

It emphasizes that “Regressive tax policies such as indirect taxes disproportionately harm people living in poverty, women, minorities, people with disabilities, children, and other marginalized groups. Concrete commitments to integrated social protection systems, including floors, are completely missing and we strongly reaffirm the need for the implementation of the relevant ILO Conventions and Recommendations.”

In addition to the above reference to persons with disabilities, the Declaration emphasizes that “Inclusive development requires access for persons with disabilities to social and disability support services and micro finance. Investments should have safeguards to prevent the creation or perpetuation of legal, institutional, attitudinal, physical and ICT barriers to the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups.”

On a positive note, the Declaration welcomes “the specific reference to ‘accessible technology for persons with disabilities’ and we also expect facilitation of access to technology for other marginalized sectors.”

It is not clear how the negotiations over the text are being conducted. Is it still possible for any of the concerns expressed by CSO to be taken on board?

Avaaz has just launched a capampign for the tax body.. maybe it’s not too late: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/ffd_global_44/?fpla

This week in Addis Ababa at the #FfD3 Conference

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development starts today with an intense program of (behind the scenes) final negotiations (since agreement could not be reached in New York), closed plenary sessions, not too easy to access round tables, and hundreds of interesting side events.

I have been working over the past year on behalf of Light for the World, the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in the outcome document of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. In the latest draft of the document we have seven solid references despite the fact that the text at present is not considered such a breakthrough from “business as usual”. There is still some hope that these final negotiations will change some of the most controversial issues, including the need for a tax body.

This week in Addis Ababa, IDA and IDDC will continue to raise awareness about the importance of the inclusion of persons with disabilities in financing for development.

IDA and IDDC are co-sponsoring a number of side events in which we have joined efforts with other NGOs on important issues such as people’s participation, employment, the private sector and the need for safeguards. Here is the list of IDA IDDC side events:

Tuesday 14 July

Title: How can the private sector have a positive impact on sustainable development? – The Addis Ababa Summit & beyond (co-sponsored only by IDDC- see attached flyer) (3.30pm – 6.00pm Elily Hotel, Mars Room)

Wednesday 15 July

The following two side events will feature respectively IDA IDDC speakers: Light for the World Ambassador Yetnebersh Nigussie and Melaku Tekle, both working at the Ethiopian Center for Disabiity and Development:

Title: Investing in Youth & Ensuring Decent Jobs to Harness the Demographic Dividend on the Occasion of the First-Ever World Youth Skills Day (1:15 pm– 2:45 pm, Elilly Unison Hall)

Title: Unlocking People’s Capacity as a Means of Implementation: The Human Face of Financing for Development (3:30 pm- 5:00 pm,Elilly Board Room)

Also, at 1:15 IDDC and IDA are co-hosting together with Beyond2015 and other NGos  the side event Follow up and Accountability. Strengthening Follow-up and Accountability: what options for FFD’s future? (1:15pm- 2:45 pm– I know, too many events at the same time! Ellily, Classic Room)

Finally, on Wednesday evening IDDC and IDA are co-hosting the Addis Ababa CSO Coordinating group presenting the CSO Declaration. The title of the event is: Advancing the Monterrey Consensus: CSO Recommendations for the Addis Ababa Accord and the Future of Financing for Development (6:15 pm to 7:45 pm, ECA Africa Hall)

All in all, an exciting and busy week ahead!