Leave no one behind

Posted by Candace Cable in Life After Paralysis on August 03, 2016

If you’ve been following my blogs, well at least since 2013, you’ll be familiar with my writing about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN CRPD, one of nine core international human rights treaties and the most comprehensive human rights document even written. And why it was written? It was written because people with disabilities were left out of the other treaties and the 2000 Millennium Development Goals, MDG.

The eight MDG goals were created by the 193 member states of the UN, to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (by 2015 the number was cut in half), to achieve universal primary education, to promote gender equality and empower women, to reduce child mortality, to improve maternal health, to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, to ensure environmental sustainability and to develop a global partnership for development by 2015.

But a couple of years into working to achieve these goals, the world woke up to a reality that people with disabilities weren’t called out anywhere in these goals, they were unequivocally left out of the MDG goals. And this is how and why the CRPD gets written. This treaty, the CRPD, began the desperately needed conversation that continues to this day, to guide and sustain the next set of global goals for humanity, now written in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG.

So why should these SDG goals matter or be important for you? Well, for one, we in the United States are members of the global community, even though we have not ratified the CRPD, we still need to understand and contribute to the dialogue of how to create social cohesion and opportunities for every person. And secondly, if you are a being, with or without a disability, these goals affect you and you can take action to affect these goals. These goals

Risnawati Utami, a wheelchair user, a lawyer and founder and Executive Director OHANA, a non-profit organization in Yogyakarta, Indonesia that focuses on gender and disability rights advocacy and policy states, “The Agenda 2030 or the new global development framework on Sustainable Development Goals is the milestone for stepping forward in implementing the disability inclusive development at local, national and global level. "Leave no - one behind" is the critical concept. For me, this is a new era when disability is included in the process of a global development agenda.”

It truly is a “new era” as Risna tells us, for people with disabilities, because the SDG’s have 11 references to people with disabilities in the 17 global goals for 2030. These goals can’t be actualized without the support of non-governmental organizations, NGO, disabled persons organizations, DPO and civil society groups. 80% of people with disabilities live in developing countries and collecting data by disability is a core principle of the SDG’s to make sure no one is left behind.

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark noted: "This agreement marks an important milestone in putting our world on an inclusive and sustainable course. If we all work together, we have a chance of meeting citizens’ aspirations for peace, prosperity, and wellbeing, and to preserve our planet."

Becoming familiar with these goals is the first step. Taking the time to read the goals and then looking at your government, local or national, to see where we are or aren’t supporting the SDG’s gives us perspective on what we can do. You may think that what you do doesn’t make a difference, but it does. Every time we unplug our chargers when the devices are fully charged takes a little stress off the environment and that’s one way to contribute to the 2030 agenda. We all can do our part to create a world that includes and supports everyone.

“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.”

-Nelson Mandela

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.