A Statement of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

UNITED NATIONS (NEW YORK), 7th SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF STATES PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES, 10 JUNE 2014.

On 10 June 2014, at the 7th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Mr. Alfredo Ferrante of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies reported about the state of the art in the implementation of the Convention by Italy. After having highlighted the alignment of Italy with the position of the European Union on the matter, and stressed the importance of the empowerment of persons with disabilities for the attainment of an inclusive society, he illustrated the steps taken by his Country:

When Italy ratified the Convention in 2009, it established a National Observatory on the status of persons with disabilities. The Observatory, overseen by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies, consists of members of national and regional public administrations, as well as of representatives of the social parties and the national federations of persons with disabilities.

It was created also in fulfillment of the Convention’s function of providing monitoring, coordination between administrations, and sharing policy priorities with representatives of persons with disabilities, guaranteeing the inclusiveness of its work.

In terms of monitoring, the Observatory prepared the first Report on the implementation of the Convention, which was submitted to the United Nations in November 2012. At the national level, Italy adopted in December 2013 its Biennial Action Plan for the promotion of the rights and the integration of persons with disabilities, centering directly on some of the main areas of the UNCRPD, i.e., education, accessibility, independent living, health, and employment. It is consistent with the 2010-2020 European Strategy on Disability and the 2006-2015 Council of Europe Plan of Action on Disability.

Mr. Ferrante then underlined the participatory approach taken in the implementation of the Convention:

There was broad participation in the drafting of both documents, including, first and foremost, associations for the disabled, who were actively involved in the whole process. The Observatory’s working groups, also in cooperation with representatives of the national federations of persons with disabilities, played a key role. The Observatory assured the equal participation of members of the national, regional, and local public administrations, as well as representatives of labor unions, social parties, and associations of disabled persons, in full compliance with a core precept of the Convention: nothing about us without us.

The same approach characterized the work of Italian Development Cooperation (IDC).

In 2010, IDC issued its Guidelines on Disability and since 2011 it has been working together with civil society, local government institutions, other decentralized bodies, academia, and research centers, to draft the “Italian Development Disability Action Plan.”

The Action Plan was finally adopted in June 2013 and it was included among the actions to be implemented within the Biennial Action Plan adopted by the Italian National Observatory on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

The Action Plan lays its foundation on 5 pillars: 1. Policies and strategies. National disability policy planning and monitoring tools 2. Inclusive project planning & design 3. Accessible and usable environments, goods and services 4. Humanitarian aid and emergency situations including persons with disabilities 5. Making the most of the experiences and best practices developed by civil society and private sector actors in the area of disability.

He then concluded expressing Italy’s conviction that the rights of persons with disabilities are the basis for an inclusive development and should be fostered also in the framework of the international debate on the Post-2015 Development Agenda:

The goal is twofold: to ensure that development can benefit pesons with disabilities, and to guarantee that persons with disabilities can contribute to the development of society.

The complete version of the statement can be found here.

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