During an event in the European Parliament (EP) this Wednesday 15 October, the International Disability & Development Consortium (IDDC) launched its Toolkit for strengthening inclusion in EU International Cooperation, aimed at Members of the EP (MEPs). This toolkit was created as a follow-up to the IDDC Elections Statement, signed by more than 50 MEPs: while the Statement asked for a commitment to the issues of disability and development on principle, this toolkit outlines the way MEPs can move this commitment from words to actions, and clearly explains the main topics at stake.

The event was hosted by Enrique Guerrero MEP (Spain, S&D) and brought together several MEPs along with representatives of the Disability Movement, and Civil Society in general. He reiterated the capital role that the European Institutions, especially the Parliament, play in the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Development Cooperation.

After a presentation of IDDC’s work by its chairperson Catherine Naughton, and an introduction to the contents of the Toolkit, the focus shifted on the role that the European Parliament plays in ensuring the inclusivity of EU development policies, with great interventions by Javier Guëmes of the European Disability Forum (EDF), who has often worked with IDDC in this area.

Finally, we had the chance to hear from our guest from the South, the President of the Togolese Federation of Associations of Persons with Disabilities (and the West African Federation of Associations of Persons with Disabilities), Ayassou Komivi, who spoke of the importance of working with the European Parliament in the context of International Cooperation. With his perspective and experience from the field, Mr. Komivi highlighted the importance of Inclusive Development Cooperation, and the role that EU institutions have in making this a reality.

Many speakers at the event highlighted the importance of including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) as the legal framework of the European Union. Even though the European Union ratified the Convention in 2011, many steps remain to be taken to fully implement it. Besides this, there is need of indicators by which civil society, and especially organisations of persons with disabilities, can really assess the impact of inclusive projects and actions that the European Union developed.

After this event, we believe that MEPs involved in development cooperation, through the Committee on Development (DEVE), the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), the Committee of Foreign Affairs (AFET), or any other parliamentary Committee, will have a better understanding of what inclusion of persons with disabilities means and looks like. Hopefully, with the support of dedicated MEPs such as those present at our event, this Toolkit will help make the coming term in the EP one marked by the inclusion of all, especially in Development Cooperation.

Source Article from IDDC

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