UN forum highlights rights of disabled people to accessible mobility
The FIA Foundation has highlighted new research on accessible mobility and the rights of disabled people to equal access to transportation at a high level UN meeting.
Speaking at the 10th session of Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the FIA Foundation presented on the role of safe, accessible, and inclusive mobility in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Habitat III New Urban Agenda.
The conference, held at UN headquarters in New York on 13th June, included a focus on inclusive and accessible development in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Habitat III New Urban Agenda to ensure the rights of vulnerable populations. The FIA Foundation highlighted the role of mobility in providing access to education, improving health, and reducing gender inequality and poverty.
The FIA Foundation presented at the event “Harnessing the power of women and girls with disabilities for inclusive society and development: taking concerted action at national, regional and global levels.” Building off the Expert Group Meeting on Advancing the Rights and Perspectives of Women and Girls with Disabilities in Development and Society, the event brought together experts to share best practices and lessons learned, and identify strategies and actions to empower women and girls with disabilities and ensure their inclusion in the implementation of the SDGs. Participants discussed means of promoting accessibility and preventing violence against women and girls with disabilities, in view of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Presenting the Foundation’s ‘Safe and Sound’ report exploring best practices to improve women’s safety on public transport, Natalie Draisin (main picture above) said, “A lack of safe and secure transport reduces economic opportunities, reinforcing poverty and increasing inequality and social exclusion.” Highlighting research from Foundation partner the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) about mobility challenges for those with disabilities in Moldova and Belarus, she added, “Women and girls with disabilities face a triple barrier, excluded by not just a lack of safety, but also accessibility and affordability.” She presented mutual recommendations from the reports, and from experiences shared by colleague Bright Oywaya of ASIRT Kenya, who became a road safety champion after a crash left her paraplegic.
The FIA Foundation will be publishing a follow up to the ‘Safe and Sound’ report in the fall of this year, including guidance based on studies from Quito, Buenos Aires, and Santiago for transport authorities and operators, development agencies and civil society.
The outcome of the meeting will inform an upcoming UN report on the situation of women and girls with disabilities, to be submitted to the 72nd session of the General Assembly. The event was hosted by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SCRPD) of the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Brazil – Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, Special National Secretariat for the Rights of the Person with Disability, and the São Paulo State Secretariat for the Rights of the Person with Disability - and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Speakers included H.E. Mr. Marco Antonio Ferreira Pellegrini, Minister, Special Secretary for the Rights of the Person with Disabilities, Brazil. Brazil has been a strong ally in promoting safe and accessible mobility, and hosted the 2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety in 2015, which laid the groundwork to implement the SDGs. The country also played a key role in including language prioritizing a safe and healthy journey to school in the New Urban Agenda, advocated for by the FIA Foundation.
The New Urban Agenda was the focus of a forum on 14 June, “Advancing Accessible and Inclusive Urban Development for All.” To better inform and improve urban policy, the event brought together experts in promoting the socio-economic benefits of universal design and accessibility. Their aim was to generate recommendations for actions and partnership at the global and local levels for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs. “66% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. The way we plan and build our cities matters. It might seem obvious that it’s one of our priorities, but it wasn’t included in the UN agenda until the New Urban Agenda,” said Ms. Ana Moreno, Habitat III Secretariat Coordinator.
Natalie Draisin discussed the role of mobility in making urban development accessible and inclusive. “Every four minutes, a child dies from a traffic crash. For every child that dies, another four are permanently disabled. 10 more are seriously injured. We cannot allow preventable road traffic crashes to deny our children their right to an education.” She presented the work of partners in making roads safer and more accessible, and said, “One intervention that our partners around the world use to make roads safer and more accessible is speed reduction.” To urge governments, cities, urban and highway designers, policy leaders, and lending institutions to ensure that all roads and streets used by children have traffic speed limits, sidewalks and crossings safe for children, The Global Initiative for Child Health & Mobility launched the Speed Vaccine advocacy campaign. “Ambassadors are invited to sign onto this campaign, to advocate for safe speeds in their countries,” Natalie Draisin said.
The event was hosted by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (represented by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Division for Social Policy and Development), and the Habitat III Secretariat/UN Habitat. The FIA Foundation was honoured to co-sponsor along with UNESCAP, the Habitat General Assembly of Partners, Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments, International Transport Forum (OECD), Rehabilitation International, Essl Foundation and Governments of Ecuador, Germany, Singapore, Oslo City, and New York City.