On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations and Sightsavers organised a side event on, as part of the 13th Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Our founder and executive director, Nidhi Goyal was part of this esteemed panel. The panel “Equal UN for an equal world” focussed on looking at diversity and representation within the UN and panellists addressed the ways to ensure the commitments made in SDGs and in the CRPD are delivered.
The panel of speakers included Moderator: Diane Kingston, former UK member of the CRPD committee and Global Technical Lead on Disability Inclusion and Mainstreaming, Sightsavers; Keynote: Under Secretary-General Ana Maria Menéndez, the UN Secretary-General’s Senior Advisor on Policy, Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General; Dr. A.H. Monjurul Kabir, Senior Programme and Policy Adviser, UN Women, Charles Chauvel, Global Lead on Inclusive Processes and Institutions, UNDP, Machtelt de Vriese, Senior Community-based Protection Adviser, UNHCR, Nidhi Goyal, Director, Rising Flame, ODP from India, Board member for AWID, UN Women Executive Director’s Civil Society Advisory Group. Finally, the closing remarks were delivered by H.E. Mr. Mitch Fifield, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations.
On the panel, Nidhi Goyal spoke about how disability is often still thought of as a medical issue but she demanded that as advocates we need to stress about reasonable accommodations, rights, non-discrimination. She raised questions about focussing on the needs of disabled people especially during ongoing disasters and pandemics like this one. She also spoke about the need for women with disabilities in particular to be part of the processes, accountability mechanisms and more especially at the national and local levels.