New Zealand statement to the United Nations Conference of States Parties Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

New Zealand Mission to the United Nations - Te Mangai o Aotearoa

General Debate: United Nations Conference of States Parties Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - New Zealand statement

Delivered by Honorable Carmel Sepuloni - New Zealand Minister for Social Development and Disability Issues

12 June 2018

Thank you Mr Chair.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou, katoa.

New Zealand welcomes this years’ focus on full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for all. We believe the commitments made in the Convention go hand in hand with the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals in ensuring that no one is left behind.

Persons with disabilities must not be invisible. The collection of high quality statistics and disaggregated data by disability status is an essential element to fully realising their rights.

To ensure the Government can better understand the lives of New Zealanders with disabilities, and identify where to focus future action to have the most impact,

New Zealand included the Washington Group Short Set of Questions in our national census this year.

In New Zealand, the Convention is implemented through our Disability Strategy. The Strategy envisages New Zealand as a non-disabling society: where persons with disabilities have equal opportunities to achieve their goals and aspirations.

The Strategy is supported by the Disability Action Plan and an Outcomes Framework, which will have specific targets and indicators to measure progress.

These mechanisms work together to implement the Convention in New Zealand and they are jointly governed by Disabled People’s Organisations and Government agencies, reflecting our application of Article 4(3) of the Convention.

New Zealand is using a co-design approach to transform our disability support system. The new system offers children, young people and adults with disabilities, and their families, greater choice and decision-making over the support they receive. At the international level, New Zealand was pleased to work with Mexico and Sweden last year to lead the first substantive Third Committee resolution on the rights of women and girls with disabilities.

This landmark resolution includes important elements for us all to ensure that the specific challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities are meaningfully addressed.

We also recognise and support the partnerships and stakeholder engagement taking place in the UN to deliver tangible and sustainable results for persons with disabilities. I would like to thank our UN and civil society partners for their ongoing support and advice in the work that we do.

However, we know that there is room for improvement.

The United Nations should be at the forefront of implementing disability-inclusive policies that represent best practice in implementing the Convention. We hope that in future the Convention obligations to provide reasonable accommodation will be met, including by the UN, to ensure the full and effective participation of those working for the UN.

New Zealand welcomes the announcement that a UN system-wide action plan is being developed and the important impact this will have in mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities across the UN system.

We look forward to continued progress on the Convention and the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that collectively, we leave no one behind.

Thank you.