On 11 June 2016, the National Federation of people with disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) hosted the round table meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, with Members of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), whose theme was “A disability-inclusive implementation of Agenda 2030: how can sustainable development leave no one behind?” The JPA brings together Parliamentarians of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and members of the European Parliament.
During the Round Table meeting, Ms. Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-chair of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly gave a presentation which focused on the ACP-EU JPA resolution of 2011 on the rights of persons with disabilities.
She noted that the ACP-EU JPA resolution was innovative but there had been no proper follow ups. She said it was time to come back to this issue, to look at what had been done and the impact that policies have actually had on the daily lives of persons with disabilities.
One of the questions that were tackled was: Is the right to participation of persons with disabilities actually fulfilled?
“In many countries, disability is still a taboo. It’s a matter of cultural change in our societies, which is directly linked to political and social development. Cultural change was also a pre-requirement for the 2030 agenda,” she noted.
Ms. Kyenge also urged delegates to start speaking about integration policies and build a transversal network of MEPs, ACP MPs and civil society, a platform to share good practices.
Chairperson of NFPDN, Mr. Daniel Trum, gave the presentation on Agenda 2030 in which he also noted that even though persons with disabilities were only mentioned in seven targets, they should be included and participate throughout implementation.
“Namibia has a Human Rights Action Plan which covers seven areas. All these areas recognize persons with disabilities as a disadvantaged group,” he said.
There is a strong disability movement in Namibia who are advocating for the alignment of all national policies with the Unites Nations Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). In addition, the Harambe Prosperity Plan (for the next 4 years) was launched recently by the new Namibian Government.
According the Mr. Trum, the NFPDN will strengthen its relationship with the Namibian Government as it recognizes that persons with disabilities have to be part of the development and implementation process. NFPDN also acknowledged that JPA is an opportunity to communicate and exchange and put pressure on governments in Africa to include persons with disabilities as part of processes and implementation of policies.