Commissioner Neven Mimica officially launched the European project, Bridging the Gap-Inclusive policies and services for equal rights of persons with disabilities, together with a wide-range of partners, on December 5 in Brussels.
Presenting Bridging the Gap as a "ground-breaking project", Commissioner Mimica stated how it will address the common challenge we face "in finding ways to improve our practices, shift our mind-sets and actions in order to ensure the full rights and participation of all women, men and children with disabilities, in all aspects of daily life".
Bridging the Gap builds on our global commitments to the 2030 Agenda, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to which the European Union is a full party, and the European Consensus on Development, that pledges to "vigorously promote the rights of persons with disabilities".
Commissioner Mimica explained, "Bridging the Gap is a milestone in this regard since it strengthens our capacity to mainstream disability throughout our actions. It shows Europe's commitment to play a leading role in taking forward a disability-inclusive development agenda".
Commissioner Mimica pointed to the important partnership that underpins the project, "bringing together actors from government and civil society, from Europe and our partner countries, and from the international to the local level".
The project will implement activities in key policies on education, health, employment, social protection and data collection at country level in five partner countries while working in parallel at the global level to define human rights indicators for the CRPD in support of a disability-inclusive 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
A number of roundtables were organised to assess the state of play and identify priorities in inclusive education, CRPD Compliance and the SDGs in development cooperation, and gender equality and human rights. The debates, led by experts, policymakers, organisations of persons with disabilities and wider civil society organisations and, produced lively discussions, and gave way to concrete proposals for Bridging the Gap to take on board and advance the rights of persons with disabilities.
Bridging the Gap is a twofold project at global and country level. At global level, the project is led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and includes developing tools for CRPD aligned SDGs implementation through consultation with partner countries from every region, experts, UN agencies, development actors, organisations of persons with disabilities, civil society and academia.
At the country level, Bridging the Gap is implemented by a consortium led by the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), and composed of the Spanish Agency for Development Cooperation (AECID), the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (IADC), the European Disability Forum (EDF) and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC).