A working group of leaders from continental, sub-regional and national federations of organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs), meeting 13-15 December 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, affirmed the need to establish an African Disability Forum (ADF).
The ADF will enable people with disabilities and their organizations in Africa to have a unified representative voice in promoting their rights and inclusion at pan-African, sub-regional and national levels.
The leaders, members of the ADF Interim Working Group, noted that Africa was the only continent not having a representative umbrella organization of member DPOs, despite the existence of many separate continental, sub-regional and national DPOs.
The Interim Working Group (IWG) was created following a consultative meeting on the proposed ADF which took place in November 2012 in Addis Ababa, convened by the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability Mr. Shuaib Chalklen.
The IWG is composed of leaders of continental organizations and sub-regional and national federations of DPOs, and includes men, women and youth leaders with disabilities serving in their individual capacity from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Gabon, Kenya, Niger, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia, with resource persons from Ethiopia and Mauritania.
The IWG planning meeting was chaired by the UN Special Rapporteur, hosted by the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD), and made possible by a grant from the Abilis Foundation in Finland.
The IWG is now making preparations for the formal launching of the ADF in 2014 and invites all continental, sub-regional and national federations of DPOs to consider becoming members. The ADF, once established, will seek recognition by the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the International Disability Alliance (IDA), and will also seek to develop a close working relationship with the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities, which provides technical guidance and support to African Governments for the implementation of the Continental Plan of Action for the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2010-2019.
I attended the first meeting (December 2013) in Addis Ababa Ethiopia with Prof Leslie Swartz to discuss the plans for the launching of the ADF.
The nature of the work done by the ADF and AfriNEAD necessitate a close working relationship between these two organs.
Further information about the ADF can be obtained from the UN Special Rapporteur at: firstname.lastname@example.org