Director Katherine Guernsey of Education & Outreach, United States International Council on Disabilities today stressed that USAID-led disability initiatives are active in over 50 countries worldwide.
At the Fourth Conference of States Parties U.S. Statement, Round Table 1 on Article 32,”Realizing the CRPD through International Cooperation,” Ms. Guernsey highlighted that the United States welcomes discussion on the important role that international cooperation can play in support of national efforts to effectively implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
She cited that the United States is working actively to ensure that inclusion of persons with disabilities is a central element of our policies and practices.
“The Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the State Department, and the Coordinator of Disability and Inclusive Development at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have been working collaboratively to mainstream disability perspectives throughout our international programs and policies.” -Ms. Guernsey
She reported that Secretary Clinton has asked US embassies to designate points of contact on disability issues charged with enhancing the U.S ability to facilitate international cooperation in the field.
“We are working to ensure that standard indicators used to track the participation of marginalized groups in funded program activities include disabled people.” -Ms. Guernsey
She stressed that the Department continues to expand the participation of persons with disabilities in international leadership and cultural exchange programs, facilitating the sharing of experiences across cultural contexts. The Department also continues to draw upon the expertise and experience of other federal agencies and the U.S. disability movement, in sharing lessons learned with counterparts in other countries.
“USAID remains committed to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the design and implementation of its programming. USAID’s policy on disability seeks to avoid discrimination against people with disabilities in programs which USAID funds, and to stimulate an engagement of host country counterparts, governments, implementing organizations and other donors in promoting equal opportunity for people with disabilities.” -Ms. Guernsey
The USAID has adopted accessibility standards for any new or renovated construction project that it funds, in order to ensure access by persons with disabilities. USAID also supports the development and implementation of training for staff and its partners overseas. The agency is a leader in efforts to institutionalize inclusion in donor, foundation, and USG-partner organizations.
“The United States remains committed to the full enjoyment of human rights by all persons with disabilities, and will continue to support effective implementation of the Convention through international cooperation activities.” -Ms. Guernsey