Statement by Mrs Rachel Kachaje, Chairperson of Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI)
With the Civil Society Coordination Mechanism
On Friday December 2nd 2016 the DPI’ Chairperson Rachel Kachaje express DPI voice to the high-level panel discussion to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the CRPD
Excellency’s, Directors, professors, doctors, members of the academia, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen and all protocols observed, I greet you! Today as we celebrate 10 years of the coming into force of the UNCRPD, and the revised MDG’s which has changed its name to SDG Implementation with an added slogan of NO ONE LEFT BEHIND, I and on behalf of Disabled People’s International (DPI) and on behalf of people with disabilities themselves would like to make a specific statement to goal number 17 which talks about PARTNERSHIPS TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS.
When I was Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs in my country, Malawi, I challenged the Minister of Finance then, when I was trying to justify the need/importance of allocating more resources to this ministry, as you all are aware that most governments all over the world do not give adequate resources to this sector. I told the Finance Minister that if government cannot give more money to the ministry then it is making a big population to be none productive citizens, and when a large number of citizens in a country are none productive then eradication of poverty becomes a failure. Therefore if we want to achieve the goals then let us make our citizens to be productive no matter who they are as long as they are human beings – NO ONE LEFT BEHIND should become a reality.
Coming to the topic on GOAL 17 – PARTNERSHIPS TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS, my own understanding of the word ‘’Partnership’’ is that it is a strategic alliance or built on trust, equality and mutual understanding and obligations to achieve a common purpose. Partners may provide the strategic alliance with resources such as knowledge and expertise for a specific or identified period to achieve a common objective.
Partnerships have the advantages that enable each individual to concentrate on activities that best match their talent. When different talents are pooled together in a partnership, they can jointly produce incredible and awesome results. Partnerships also enable continuous improvements due to the combination of talents and quality specification in different areas. Partnerships are therefore important in identifying critical new knowledge to improve a situation or workforce. Partnerships are also important as duplication of efforts, waste of resources, and reinventing the wheel is avoided. Participation, involvement and consultation of persons with disabilities and making them as main partners in matters that affect them is a fundamental principle that I think must be reflected at all levels.
We saw a classic example of how efficient partnership can be when people work together for a common purpose. The key word for good partnership is WORK TOGETHER FOR A COMMON PURPOSE. The UNCRPD is one of the best models for this purpose. An added advantage to the partnership that led to efficiency in negotiating the UNCRPD is that when participation starts from the beginning, you can be guaranteed of ownership because knowledge and ownership tend to stay where they originate. Today many persons with disabilities believe that they own the UNCRP because they were involved from the onset of developing the UNCRPD. As a result, they are up in arms working to promote it by lobbying and advocating for their governments to sign, ratify and implement what is in the UNCRPD. If persons with disabilities were not involved in development of the UNCRPD – you would also be guaranteed of its death. It is so interesting and encouraging to see that many sectors of society are making effort to address disability issues from different perspectives.
I congratulate and thank all the people from anywhere around the globe who worked hard to conceptualize and saw into birth, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and all those who tirelessly lobbied and advocated for inclusion of disability in the SDG Implemetation. I salute all the governments that have signed and ratified the convention including my country, Malawi. I also take this opportunity to call and urge all the governments who have not yet done so to search their souls, think seriously to please sign and ratify the convention including the Optional Protocol without delay
In conclusion, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me say this that I have a dream and that dream is in colour picture and stereophonic sound. I will keep on dreaming until when that dream will become a reality, my dream is that disabled people will live in a nation where they will be judged not by their disability but rather by their ability.