Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development – Engaging WBU members and OPD partners in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda

Rationale: Why do we need to engage?

Cities hold key roles in ensuring the progressive implementation of the global agendas are progressed in line with the CRPD. Cities equipped with accessible infrastructure, transport and technology enable everyone, including people who are blind or partially sighted, to live and travel more independently. Cities are diverse, each with its own way of working, and approaches to inclusion and accessibility vary both within and between countries. However, many cities find themselves lacking standards, expertise, and tools on how to transform ambitions into developing and structure systems, services, and spaces inclusive of and accessible to all persons with disabilities. Common challenges faced by cities often include lack of financial and institutional capacities, lack of inclusive budgeting with accountability and compliance mechanisms together with lack of involvement of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities, and low awareness of accessibility standards and Universal Design.

This creates a vacuum wherein cities risk adopting strategies, policies and programs which reinforce accessibility barriers and, instead of breaking them down, create new ones. In effect, gaps and exclusion experienced by people with disabilities may persist. may be maintained  This results in that gaps and exclusion are maintained To counter this, the WBU and partnering Organisations of Persons with Disabilities’ (OPD) have been strengthening their advocacy efforts for inclusive and accessible urban development ensuring that:

  • The voices of WBU members and OPD partners are influencing decision making guiding urban development at all levels; and,
  • WBU members and OPD partners can engage by being accessibility experts in their-own-right along support cities and urban stakeholders with relevant expertise on accessibility and universal design.

Programme objective: What do we want to achieve?

Our goal is to ensure that WBU members and OPD partners are effectively influencing the implementation of the New Urban Agenda including programs, policies and legal frameworks to ensure disability inclusion and accessibility for all persons with disabilities in line with CRPD at all levels (global, regional, national and local).

Towards achieving this, by 2023, we want to increase visibility and influence of WBU Members and IDA members, in advocacy platforms and mechanisms guiding urban development at all levels to promote disability inclusion and accessibility in line with CRPD and Agenda 2030.

Specific objectives and results at a glance

In this section we present the specific programming objectives along an overview of results at a glance.

1: Strengthened capacities of WBU and OPD partners on disability inclusion, accessibility, and universal design to support leadership, engagement in advocacy platforms and mechanism guiding urban development at all levels

Towards this specific objective WBU is supporting and coordinating participation, exposure and learning of WBU Members and OPD partners in relevant processes, forums and discussions guiding urban development to strengthen capacities, provision of technical expertise, and accelerate influence to action change towards more inclusive and accessible cities for all.

By co-chairing and supporting the Partner Constituent Group of Persons with Disabilities in the General Assembly of Partners, a platform is created for OPDs across regions and impairment groups to engage, exchange, conduct policy-advocacy and provide technical expertise to mainstream stakeholders at global, regional and national levels around the New Urban Agenda implementation based on a holistic approach to disability inclusion, accessibility and Universal Design.

The engagement of the PCG at the tenth session of the World Urban Forum included trainings, networking, effective participation in roundtables, dialogues, and side events. As a result, the role of OPDs as key stakeholders and their contributions to inclusive urban development were captured by the official outcome declaration of this UN event, the Abu Dhabi Declared Actions. The PCG together with the Global Network for Disability-Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development (DIAUD) managed to work with mainstream stakeholders, including cities, local governments, and the private sector, towards cites for all. Read more about our achievements at WUF 10 here: Article by WBU and Article by IDA-IDDC BRIDGE Alumni.

WBU, as part of the PCG and DIAUD network, contributed to the development and adoption of the Policy Paper on Inclusive and Accessible Cities by the United Cities and Local Governments in 2019. This sets a global framework for the union’s more than 240.000 regional and local government members to align with the CRPD. The adoption offers OPDs at all levels a powerful entry-point to dialogues and in collaboration with their local governments support with technical expertise and experiences.

2: Tools and resources are developed and shared to support WBU, OPDs partners, and mainstream actors with advocacy efforts / delivery of inclusive and accessible practices

Towards this specific objective WBU always share tools and resources to underscore evidence-based advocacy, policing, knowledge production and provision of technical expertise to key partners and stakeholders. WBU works proactively to engage in co-creative development processes with key partners.

Sharing of tools and resources underpin all our program engagements. Please proceed to the section on tools and resources to find a sample, including those resources towards which WBU contributed. In May 2020, WBU supported the PCG to share their expertise and experiences within an Expert-Group Meeting focusing on Persons with Disabilities and Older Persons hosted by UN-Habitat and partners, including WBU, intended to guide UN-Habitat on social inclusion. Stay tuned for the publication of the outcome document including actionable recommendations.

WBU is currently in a co-creative process with CBM Global for a new flagship resource on accessibility which will also underpin our urban development programming.

3: Strengthened engagement with key mainstream stakeholders to promote CRPD compliance, accessibility, and Universal Design

Towards achieving this objective WBU, as a global OPD, seek to collaborate with a wide spectrum of key mainstream stakeholders and partners with the aspiration to break siloed thinking to engagement of persons with disabilities and accessibility in urban transformation.

Our approach is holistic as we try to find new ways of collaborating in initiatives, forums, and policy-development processes to generate evidence-based practices bolstering more inclusive and accessible urban strategies and practices wherein OPDs play a natural part.

WBU’s key result under this objective is the unique four-year milestone agreement with UN-Habitat towards more accessible cities for all, focusing on disability inclusion, accessibility, and Universal Design in their normative and practical work in line with the CRPD and UNDIS.

In 2018 WBU became the first global OPD to sign the Global Compact for Inclusive and Accessible Cities (Cities4all) and has become one of the driving forces in the multi-stakeholder DIAUD network for increased OPD participation at all levels. Since then, WBU has actively contributed to the coordination and actions of the network in key processes and events, including its reform into a Community of Practice.

Read more about our ongoing partnerships and engagements in the section on Networks & Partners

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