Press Release

Joint UN support to advance the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) implementation

21 May 2021

Skopje, 21 May, 2021 – An induction training on cross-cutting approaches and preconditions for disability inclusive development in North Macedonia that started this week marks the launch of a new joint United Nations (UN) programme to advance the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) implementation and improve disability inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This joint programme, funded by the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UNPRPD MPTF), is a unique collaboration that brings together UN entities, governments, organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs), and broader civil society to advance the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and disability inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Disability inclusion in North Macedonia has gained traction since the CRPD ratification and its Optional Protocol in 2011. Changes in legislation to make schools fully inclusive, introduction of a new assessment model, closure of large-scale institutions for children without parental care and shifts in attitudes towards disability and inclusion are some of the results achieved since the country ratified the Convention. The additional progress with deinstitutionalization, made possible with previous UNPRPD support, revealed the complexity, gaps and opportunities for scaling up CRPD implementation and disability inclusive development. The joint programme and the multi-sector collaboration also improve the awareness, accessibility and services delivery in the field of sexual and reproductive health and services to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, especially sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancies among women and girls with disabilities.

The Government remains committed to equality and inclusion, including persons with disabilities. Capitalizing on the progress made, the joint programme aims to accelerate and deepen systemic reforms and give effect to the preconditions necessary for disability inclusion into policies, programs and services that are aligned with international norms and standards. Developed in close consultation with the representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities, the Government, UN entities, international community and services providers for persons with disabilities, the programme will focus on:

  1. advancing CRPD implementation at the country level by focusing on the preconditions for disability inclusion across sectors, translating these into concrete policies, programs, and / or services which lead to systemic changes through a cohesive, inter-sectoral approach.
  2. improving and increasing the implementation of disability inclusive SDGs at the country level by providing fundamental support to the UN’s collective response to the SDGs to address national priorities and gaps concerning persons with disabilities in national planning.

The programme, which is one of 26 similar interventions supported globally by UNPRPD during this funding round, consists of a preparatory phase (an induction training, country situational analysis and a full-fledged project proposal development) and a project implementation phase.

“Through the activities of OHCHR, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, and other UN entities, the UN has supported the government and national partners in several ways, including the process of deinstitutionalization and reintegration in society of residents in the Institution Banja Bansko, the development of local models for adapted support services for people with disabilities, the development of an inclusive education system nationwide, the development of foster care standards, the development of employment and occupational support services as well as tailor-made support to enable access to active labor market measures for people with disabilities, and sensitization and capacity building on the CRPD” said Rossana Dudziak, UN Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia. “The UN will continue supporting systemic and comprehensive reforms and measures to make a real shift towards substantive and inclusive equality for people with disability. And this new UN joint programme will serve this objective.”

“The implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is integral to the development of inclusive societies that leave no one behind. That is why UNDP has been working to provide people with disabilities with the opportunities they need to participate in society just like anyone else, with a particular focus on integrating into the labour market and pursuing fulfilling careers. Through this joint programme we hope to accelerate the process of embedding such opportunities in national policies and services so that we can sustain and build on the progress we’ve made,” said Narine Sahakyan, UNDP’s Resident Representative.

“People with disabilities carry the promise of happy, meaningful lives, of vital community participation, and of making contributions to build inclusive and sustainable societies. However, a society cannot be equitable unless all children and adults are included, and children and adults with disabilities cannot be included unless the environment around them changes to support their participation. Having led cross-sectoral work to supporting inclusion of children with disabilities, UNICEF is pleased to be leading the work in the inception phase of this joint UN programme”, said Patrizia Di Giovanni, UNICEF Representative.  

“As the motto of the CRPD suggests “Nothing for us without us”, UNFPA is pledged to give equal opportunities to all, especially the women and girls, the ones that are the most left behind, to foster the full enjoyment of healthy live life, free of discrimination and violence of any kind. With this joint program, we will continue to support development of accessible and inclusive services delivery in the field of sexual and reproductive health and services to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and that with the initial training and the situational analysis will provide good basis for addressing the issue on data collection”, said Afrodita Shalja-Plavjanska, UNFPA Head of Office in North Macedonia.

“Inclusive societies are based on equality, equity and parity, where all women and men are represented equally in all spheres of public and political life. We at UN Women, hope that this joint programme will contribute to breaking the multisectional and intersectional barriers that women and girls with disabilities for ease of reference face, further tackled through structural change, with their rights and perspectives considered and promoted”, said Vesna Ivanovikj – Castarede, the Head of UN Women Office.

The preparatory phase is fully supported by the UNPRPD Fund (US$100,000). Phase two of preparatory joint programme activities, the country situational analysis, will bring better understanding of contextual factors affecting CRPD and SDGs implementation and the preconditions for disability inclusion, and will contribute to ensuring that the joint programme developed in phase three for implementation is tailored to addressing national needs and challenges.

This joint programme is possible thanks to the contributions to the UNPRPD Fund by the governments Australia, Cyprus, Finland, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

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Joint UN support to advance the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) implementation

Aleksandar Dimishkovski

Aleksandar Dimishkovski

Communications and Advocacy Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund

Goals we are supporting through this initiative