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EU-Arab High-level Meeting on Disability Rights held in Valletta, Malta 24-25 April 2019

The government of Malta is hosting a first-ever EU – Arab High-Level Meeting on Disability Rights, on the 25th of April, for which Ministers from EU and Arab states and their representatives, together with UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) national focal point representatives, will attend. According to a news brief from the government of Malta, the meeting was preceded by a technical day , yesterday 24th of April, bringing together local, EU and Arab experts and civil society representatives. The World Blind Union CEO, Mr. Jose Viera, who is also the UN Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities for Sustainable Development is participating at the meeting held in Valletta, the capital of Malta.

Read the full communiqué below:  

Malta is hosting a first-ever EU – Arab High-Level Meeting on Disability Rights, on the 25th of April, for which Ministers from EU and Arab states and their representatives, together with UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) national focal point representatives, will attend. The Meeting will be preceded by a technical day on the 24th of April, bringing together local, EU and Arab experts and civil society representatives.
The Government of Malta has formally partnered with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to organise this event, while preparations have been also shaped following the valuable input of the European Commission’s DG-Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. The League of Arab States is also participating and contributing as a key regional player, as is the European Commission – League of Arab States Liaison Office (ECLASLO).

The initiative at hand follows Malta’s participation in the European Commission’s Disability High-Level Group (DHLG) over the past years and, more recently, the Inter-governmental Group of Experts on Disability (IGED) hosted by UN ESCWA. The Meeting is being organised in an effort to bridge the work of both entities, and to enable further sharing of knowledge, and build an enduring vehicle for future cooperation between the EU and the Arab world in the disability rights field.

A number of initial key areas for further cooperation were identified for this Meeting, namely Accessibility, Employment, Inclusive Education, and Independent and Community Living, together with Cross-Sectoral Coordination. Joint efforts could be targeted towards specific actions, such as common projects and events, joint research, statistics and data collection, and reporting. Furthermore, cooperation would include efforts to improve national and regional disability-specific structures mandated by the UNCRPD, through sharing of best practices.

The Meeting’s enduring legacy will be the creation and hosting of an EU – Arab Cooperation Forum on Disability Rights (the “Valletta Forum”). This will be set up further to the adoption of a Political Declaration by representatives of signatory States and entities present.

(Brief, courtesy of the government of Malta​)