The European project Bridging the Gap, the ILO/UNICEF/UNPRPD Inclusive Social Protection Project, the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the African Disability Forum (ADF) held on March 30-31 the Policy Dialogue Conference “Social protection in Africa: a new path towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities” to trigger and reinforce the policy dialogue on inclusive social protection in Africa based on interesting practices across the continent.
The Conference was structured in two online sessions: a technical seminar on the first day and a political conference on the second day, and brought together different stakeholders involving African public institutions, regional and national organizations of persons with disabilities, international cooperation actors such as bilateral agencies, delegations of the European Union or UN organisations, or the African Union, among others.
The technical seminar, opened by the institutional welcome from the organizers, kicked off with the keynote speeches of Alexandre Cote and Taylor Spadafora, UNICEF Specialists in Disability and Social Protection and Social Policy, respectively. They both highlighted the importance of social protection for persons with disabilities and of ensuring social protection schemes tailored to the type of support required by each person.
“Persons with disabilities are more likely to be in a poor household, are more vulnerable to shocks and face disability-related costs. They may need support at different stages of life and face significant discrimination and barriers and being treated unfairly”, stressed Alexandre Cote.
The technical seminar also featured four panels addressing policy planning, income support, inclusive health care and access to community support, education and livelihoods, considered to be four pivotal pillars for inclusive social protection systems.
On the 31st, representatives from different countries and international organisations shared strategies and explored solutions to strengthen their commitment to inclusive social protection as a key component of an inclusive policy framework that facilitates active citizenship, social inclusion and community participation as stated in the UNCRPD. This was followed by the presentations from the rapporteurs on the main highlights of the technical workshop held the previous day.
The conference ended with an ADF video summarizing a joint call for action to find disability-inclusive social protection strategies to set up in Africa.
Call for action on inclusive social protection in Africa
The call for action presented at this Conference is an initiative of the African Disability Forum, with the support of the International Disability Alliance, Bridging the Gap project, and the UNPRPD-ILO-UNICEF inclusive social protection project to call on all African nations, technical and financial partners, and development agencies to:
- Recognize the impact of structural marginalization and inequalities and its consequences in terms of disability related costs for persons with disabilities and their families across the lifespan.
- Promote inclusive social protection schemes in line with Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities towards enabling inclusion and full and effective participation.
- Ensure responsiveness of these schemes to the diversity of the disability movement including women and children with disabilities, older people with disabilities and persons with disabilities with high support requirements and in humanitarian emergencies.