Last Wednesday 14th of June 2023, The World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB) held an online event on the topic “Presenting WFDB’s 2nd Global Report: Good Practices and Recommendations for the Inclusion of Persons with Deafblindness“. The International Disability Alliance (IDA) was a co-sponsor to the event.
The event offered the opportunity to learn about the report, as well as the situation of persons with deafblindness, including good practices and recommendations for their inclusion. Moreover, the SHAPES Project, an Innovation Action funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, was presented as a good example on how to include persons with deafblindness in large scale projects and mainstream programmes.
This was a side event organised as part of the 16th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD (CoSP16) which took place at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, from 13 to 15 June 2023. WFDB President Sanja Tarczay and Policy Advisor Lucia D’Arino were present to advocate for the rights of persons with deafblindness. Find here more information about their participation.
Summary of interventions
Ms. Sanja Tarczay, WFDB President and moderator of the event, opened the session by providing some welcome remarks where we were reminded that June is for many countries Deafblind awareness month, stressing that June 27 as the International Day of Persons with Deafblindness.
Mr. Cato Lie, IDA Board member and President of International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus also shared some introductory remarks where the efforts and advancements by WFDB were recognised.
Mr. Christopher Woodfill, WFDB Executive Council Member, presented the 2nd Global Report’s purpose which is to build on the findings and recommendations of the first global report (published in 2018), strengthen and consolidate the evidence from different regions and focus on good practices and case studies to answer the question – “How do we support the inclusion of persons with deafblindness?”, providing concrete guidance to governments and other stakeholders. This report represents a key advocacy tool not only for national and regional members but also for disability sector more broadly. As per the structure, the report includes a total of 17 policy areas or substantive chapters, which builds on and strengthens the topics from the 1st global report. In a nutshell, the 2nd global report urgent priorities are:
- Recognition of deaflindness as a unique and distinct disability
- Establish a system for informational resources and continuous training on deafblindness for essential frontline workers
- Establish publicly funded live assistance for persons with deafblindness as an essential service
- Provide funding for further research and data
Ms. Lucía D’Arino, WFDB Program Advisor presented the SHAPES Project, which aims to facilitate long-term healthy and active ageing and the maintenance of a high-quality of life, in the community, involving more than 2000 older individuals. Ms Lucia D’Arino also talked about WFDB’s involvement in the project as a consortium partner and shared examples of the inclusion of older persons with deafblindness. The project can be seen as an example of a good practice on how to mainstream disability and deafblindness because:
- WFDB was involved from early planning stages
- Reasonable acommodations are reflected in the budget (i.e.: sign language interpreters)
- Accessibility meetings are often held
- Inclusion and accessibility have been adopted as a cross-cutting requirement
- WFDB has maintained ownership of the project and decision-making power
- The disability community is connected with hundreds of key stakeholders around the EU
- Direct involvement and participation of end users with different types of disabilities
- Data and information on older persons with disabilities has been collected
There was an opportunity for the audience to ask questions about the report and the project.
Ms. Sanja Tarczay shared some closing remarks, emphasising the importance of leaving no one behind, including persons with deafblindness, and thanked the speakers, interpreters and attendees for their online participation, which included more than 60 people, as well as the supporters of the event, which include the International Disability Alliance (IDA).