Young People and the Sustainable, Inclusive Development Agenda. Sao Paulo, October 21-24, 2015
The International Disability Alliance will soon conduct a Conference titled “The Post-2015 Agenda and the UN CRPD in Latin America: Fostering Regional Dialogue to Develop Common Understanding on Implementation of the UN CRPD and an Inclusive Post-2015 Framework.”
The focus of my recent work with the Interamerican Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development (iiDi) has been focused on the makinga diverse selection of candidates qualified to contribute to a strong group of young Latin Americans who will represent META in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) Conference. The young activists will be responsible for presenting the identity and social change movement that is represented META (Movimiento Estamos Tod@s en Acción).
The young activists of META are driven by the need for social inclusion of persons with disabilities. Their work demonstrates that inclusion of PWDs cannot be treated as an afterthought to complement the various social services of a country, but instead as a fundamental element in the creation of such programs. Furthermore, they insist on fully implementing disability inclusion, not limited to government health and education programs (where inclusion efforts are most commonly directed), but fully recognized in the a
ccess to any form of recreational activity- arts, sports, etc. The young activists assert the universal right to enjoy any social environment.
What will take place…
UNICEF headquarters in New York has asked iiDi and META to identify 30 young people to participate in a youth with disabilities meeting that will take place in Sao Paulo beginning the 21st of October.
The meeting, which is titled “New Voices, New Challenges”, invites young people between 18 and 22 years old to learn in the company of the IDA leaders and to bring new voices and perspectives to the IDA Conference.
The Youth Meeting objectives are the following:
- Build bridges between the social agendas presented, the young people and inclusive development.
- Share technical tools which allow for participation from remote locations in orderto best represent the various communities of PWDs.
- Examine how the network manifests itself and how exchanges are conducted among the young representatives in order to build upon and improve the group’s action plan with added resources and new partners.
- Observe and engage with the IDA representatives attending the Conference.
*Participating countries represented by the young activists: Peru, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Mexico.
*I am collaborating with RIADIS (Latin American Network of Nongovernmental Organizations for Persons with Disabilities and their Families) in order to locate and invite a selection of new Young people with and without disabilities.
Why has it been so difficult to select and facilitate the participation of a group of activists under the age of 22?
My rationale is that for many of us, as young people with disab
ilities, the concept of our human rights, of ideas such as social inclusion and development, were introduced to us not as children but as adults. In many cases, this information was not presented to us at a younger age due to a lack of training and education, at times because a lack of family support or, alternatively, a lack of resources provided by our governments or academic institutions.
For these reasons, I found it extremely difficult to identify young people in the required age range who possessed the experience, training and interest to equip them with the ability to professionally represent META in an international setting. It is no small task to clearly articulate oneself and a positive approach to presenting the lack of global attention given to children and youth with disabilities. All too often, young people with disabilities are faced with the challenge of earning public support while maintaining the strong, capable identity they possess and want to demonstrate to the world. The young activists of META strive to exhibit their abilities and talents in order to inspire society to contribute to a movement of the utmost importance.
The young people, upon arriving in Sao Paulo, will begin to augment their understanding and application of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) a
nd relate the CRPD to their individual, local actions that are designed to promote the Inclusive post-2015 Development Framework. The three days of activities will be full of captivatingand engaging dialogues, among the young people and with the national, regional and global activists present at the IDA Conference.
We will soon be sharing the news and photos from the “New Voices, New Challenges” Youth Meeting!