The 12th Conference of States Parties (COSP) took place June 11-13th 2019 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, bringing together more than 90 country delegations and 100 national and international civil society organizations to discuss progress on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Canada ratified the CRPD in 2010, which commits the federal government to work to implement and fulfil all of the rights and protections outlined in the articles of the Convention.

The Conference of States Parties is an annual event where countries come together to discuss best practices and share experiences in the global implementation of the CRPD. Constructive dialogues are held between civil society organizations, state parties (countries that have signed and/or ratified the Convention), and the UN Committee on the CRPD. These dialogues ensure that countries are working on concrete directions to implement the CRPD and suggest directions on areas of implementation that need improvement.

Held under the theme of ‘Ensuring the inclusion of persons with disabilities in a changing world through the implementation of the CRPD’, the 12th Conference of the States Parties focused on the sub-themes of technology, social inclusion, health, the inclusion of persons with disabilities in cultural life and recreation, and general awareness raising.

CACL Executive Vice-President Krista Carr, along with Director of Policy and Program Operations Tara Levandier and Director of Public Affairs Kurt Goddard comprised CACL’s delegation. Other Canadian civil society organizations attending COSP included the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, People First of Canada, DisAbled Women’s Network Canada, March of Dimes, Independent Living Canada, L’Arche Canada, Eviance, and the Canadian Association of the Deaf.

During their time at the United Nations, Krista Carr presented the Canadian perspective on an international panel titled Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and Institutions: Lived Experiences and Ways to Achieve Deinstitutionalization, hosted by Inclusion International. Tara Levandier represented CACL at the re-launch of the Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum, where disability organizations from 27 Commonwealth countries met to establish priorities for collaborative work. The CACL delegation attended a reception hosted by Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, and the Government of Canada delegation, including Krista Wilcox, Director General, Office for Disability Issues. The CACL delegation also met with UN CRPD Committee member Robert Martin, the first and only member of a UN Committee with an intellectual disability, to discuss Canada’s upcoming 2nd review before the Committee.

To learn more about the Conference of States Parties and view recorded sessions, please visit the UN Web TV website.