Disability inclusion and COVID-19

The Malta Federation of Organisations Persons with Disability (MFOPD) is the national umbrella organisation for the disability sector. It is the Malta representative at EU and International fora. MFOPD is a member of the Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum (CDPF) and thus was invited to join in the High Level Event on disability inclusion and COVID-19. This took place on the 25th June. 

This High Level Event was hosted by the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) Network. The GLAD Network was launched in London in December 2015, by a group of like-minded partners, who recognise that to realize the promise of the SDGs to leave no one behind, and to further the principles reflected in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the international community needs to work together to share expertise, coordinate actions, and raise the profile of disability across a broader range of organizations contributing to international development efforts 

The High-Level Round Table was opened by H.E Ms. Amina Mohamed, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General and Mr. Ulstein, Minister for International Development (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Norway. The objective of this High-Level Round Table was to reiterate the need to adhere to the set of commitments entered through adoption of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to act with determination to leave no one behind, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the recovery phase. 

The common vision of ‘Leaving no one Behind’ was intensified by the various statements of the speakers coming from different countries. MFOPD wishes to highlight these strong statements with the sole intention for our government and all our policy makers to take on board and act wisely upon. At this High Level Event, these persons occupying a high level post within their country and organisations stated that: 

  • Governments need to get poverty reduction on track. 
  • All countries must meet their obligations under the United Nation Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD). 
  • Governments are to ensure that persons with disability are at the centre. 
  • Governments are to understand the value of education for children with disability. 
  • A human rights approach to poverty reduction. 
  • The need to consult with Disabled Persons Organisations and Non Governmental Organisations cannot be highlighted enough. 
  • Disability is an area above politics. 
  • Persons with disability should be on equal basis as others. 
  • There should be ongoing consultation with persons with disability and their organisations. 
  • We need to champion for the inclusion of persons with disability. 
  • We can have the best funds, best people etc, but it won’t work unless we lift our insights. The biggest barriers are our attitudes. 
  • It is imperative that persons with disability, through their organisations, have a voice. 
  • The voice of persons with disability to be in the centre of all conversations. 
  • COVID-19 has increased the poverty rate. 
  • Persons with disability are not objects. They should be active participants in all that relates to them. 
  • · We must make sure that inclusion is a default and not an addition in this effort. 
  • · There should be political will to include persons with disability at all times. 
  • · This pandemic tested the strength of commitment of persons with disability and the tests were not positive. 
  • · A better future must indeed be an inclusive future. 
  • · Give persons with disability the floor, listen to them and let them guide us. 
  • · The involvement of persons with disability must be duplicated and not reduced. 
  • · All speakers acknowledged a determination to act and not leave no one behind. 

The Malta Federation continues to stress about the lack of involvement and collaboration with persons with disability via their organisations at national level. It was great to hear such statements coming from said persons and we do hope that Malta rises up to such a standard where it comes to persons with disability.

Marthese Mugliette, President, Malta Federation of Organisations  Persons with Disability