We Firmly Believe that Inclusion Begins at the Local Level

July 18, 2023 4:12 am Published by
World Blind Union CEO Marc Workman making his remarks at the UN

World Blind Union CEO Marc Workman making his remarks at the UN

“At the World Blind Union, we firmly believe that inclusion begins at the local level where governments, civil society and communities would join forces to create accessible, inclusive and resilient environments,” the strong opening remarks from the WBU C.E.O Marc Workman at the UN High Level Political Forum in New York.

World Blind Union and United Cities and Local Governments jointly developed a policy brief, in collaboration with UNHABITAT and other stakeholders. Localization to Solve the Accessibility Crisis; Recommendations to States Parties for Immediate Action is a policy brief main recommendations are:

  • Stress the vital role of local and regional governments (LRGs), persons with disabilities, older persons and their representative organisations in achieving accessible and inclusive infrastructure and services for all across the urban-rural continuum.
  • Provide key recommendations for national governments and LRGs to collaborate in fostering localization and removing accessibility barriers for all in line with the CRPD and the global agendas.

“Our policy brief offers several recommendations to address this concern. First, meaningful participation and coordination are crucial. Local and regional governments must be engaged as the key stakeholders in the implementation of SDGs and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Similarly Organizations of Persons with Disabilities like World Blind Union must be actively involved as we are essential in shaping inclusive urban development strategies, policies and practices. Second, for effective multilevel governance policies and standards must be harmonized and aligned in compliance with the CRPD including article nine on accessibility, should be ensured across all levels. This means harmonizing with accessibility standards and placing accessibility at the heart of urban policies, local action plans, procurement and reporting mechanisms. Lastly, data plays a vital role. Unfortunately, data on accessibility and inclusion is lacking. Empowering local and regional governments with the necessary resources, competencies to collect this aggregated data and identify accessibility barriers is critical to informed policy making. By taking these steps we can unleash the power of localization, we can fulfil our obligation under the CRPD, build back better from Covid 19 pandemic, and achieve the vision of the 2030 agenda,” shared Marc in the meeting.

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This post was written by Fridah Mlemwa