Since its accreditation to the Conference of States Parties 4 years ago the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) has brought to light the role of support services in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) with the United Nations. This year EASPD is represented in two side events looking at multi-stakeholder cooperation and the reform of social services. Both are current debates which shape the agendas of social policies and where EASPD takes actively part with its 20 years’ expertise.
The Conference of States Parties to the CRPD is the annual gathering of countries that have ratified the Convention and of the organisations that are accredited to it. This year’s conference focuses on the decade to come in the implementation of the Convention, taking stock of what has been achieved so far and looking at the challenges ahead.
EASPD brings its expertise on the role of support services in the implementation of the Convention, focusing on the need to ensure quality support systems that include persons with disabilities in the design and delivery of support and that are responsive to individual needs and looking at how specific support can be mainstreamed in society.
Multi-stakeholder Partnerships: The power to create change!
During the side event on Tuesday, the 13th June, “Multi-stakeholder partnerships: The power to create change!” successful models of partnerships were discussed in cooperation with the Essl Foundation/Zero Project and Beit Issie Shapiro. The panel of speakers also included Handicap International, the Ministry of Social Development of Uruguay and the Harvard Law School Project on Disability.
Ms Sabrina Ferraina, Policy Manager at EASPD, said that “the path towards full inclusion requires sound partnerships, based on mutual understanding between different parties, so as to draw from the expertise of every stakeholder and work towards shared objectives and outcomes. To this extent connecting the support sector with mainstream actors is essential to provide skills and knowledge and create together inclusive models of support”.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Michael Fembek, Programme Manager at the Essl Foundation/Zero Project stated that “there is a need to research more models of good practice and to scale up innovative solutions, encouraging more synergies across stakeholders”.
Reforming social services to embrace the human rights approach
On the 15th June, EASPD will co-organise another event to discuss how the reform of social care systems can adopt and embed human rights principles. The event is co-organised with the European Union and the Council of Europe. Many systemic changes are required for the delivery of CRPD compliant models of support: from the adoption of stable and sustainable legal and financial frameworks to the structural involvement of persons with disabilities and the training of professionals. Models of good practice will be presented by representatives of the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Maltese National Focal Point Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The European Disability Forum and the European Economic and Social Committee will present the view of persons with disabilities.
For EASPD it is key to work towards increased cooperation and awareness raising at all levels to move towards systems of support that are affordable, available in the community, accessible to all and adaptable to all persons in need of support. We are therefore very glad for the opportunity to bring in the views of support services each year at the UN Conference of States Parties to the CRPD.
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Note to editors
The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing 15.000 social and health support services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole
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This publication has been produced with the financial support of the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014-2020). The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission.