SDDC is a Swiss based network advocating for the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in Switzerland's international cooperation.
The civil society report by the Swiss Platform Agenda 2030 on the implementation of the SDGs by Switzerland, was released on June 6, 2022. The Swiss Disability and Development Consortium (SDDC) provided input to the report, particularly around SDG 1 (poverty) and 10 (inequality). The report addresses progress and challenges in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and makes clear recommendations for Switzerland. Because one thing is clear: If Switzerland does not act decisively now, it will have serious consequences for everyone.
The Swiss country progress report on the SDGs does not address the extent to which Switzerland contributes to achieving the inclusion of persons with disabilities within its international cooperation. This is particularly unfortunate because the structure of the country report is promising. In addition to the national context, the international level is always taken into account. However, persons with disabilities globally, are not mentioned.
On 4 May 2022, the My Lens My Reality exhibition was opened at the headquarters of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Bern. The opening took place within the context of the yearly spring meeting of the SDC with its institutional partners.
“Women with a disability face additional stigma”, said Patricia Danzi, SDC Director, during her opening remarks, highlighting multiple discrimination. Ms. Danzi recognized that more needs to be done within the SDC and its projects abroad to ensure the full inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life. “In many countires, disabiltiy is visible. In Switzerland, it is less visible.”
Ms. Mirjam Gasser spoke on behalf of SDDC to officially open the exhibition. She presented some key findings from the accompanying Photovoice study. She recalled that Switzerland and specifically, Swiss development cooperation, still has a a long way to go to ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities.
The exhibition will remain displayed at the SDC in Bern until 19 May 2022.
How can Switzerland ensure the rights of persons with disabilities in the Global South?
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No guidelines, no priority. Switzerland needs guidelines to inform its work on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in its international cooperation. Current efforts on disability inclusion are small scale, ad-hoc and mostly segregating.
Nothing about us, without us! Switzerland must ensure the full and active participation of persons with disabilities throughout all processes affecting them, including in its international cooperation. Arrangements must be made to enable their participation.
What isn’t counted, doesn’t count. Switzerland has committed itself to be a leader on data collection, but it is not systematically collecting and disaggregating data on disability in its international programmes.
Leave no one behind in humanitarian crises. Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected in humanitarian crises. Switzerland committed itself to making its humanitarian action inclusive of persons with disabilities, but it is not clear how it is living up to its commitment.
What isn’t budgeted for, doesn’t get done. Switzerland must sufficiently budget for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in its international cooperation and must commit itself not to finance programs and services that segregate persons with disabilities from the community.