COSP17: Towards the Summit of the Future

COSP17, the seventeenth session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD, took place in New York from 11-13 June 2024. The Atlas Alliance was part of the Norwegian delegation.

The day before the COSP kicked off, the Atlas Alliance’s Executive Director, Marit Sørheim, participated in the Civil Society Forum on behalf of the IDDC, the International Disability and Development Consortium. Read more about the forum here.  

The central theme of this year’s COSP was the Summit of the Future, a crucial event scheduled for September. This summit is expected to lay the groundwork for UN reforms, a renewed commitment to the SDGs, and a Pact of the Future. COSP17 also delved into three sub-themes: Inclusive technology, inclusive humanitarian action and crisis preparedness, and decent work.  

Humanitarian response – a side event  

The UN Programme for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNPRPD, The Atlas Alliance, Norway, and the Australian Foreign Ministry hosted a COSP side event on inclusive strategies in humanitarian response.  

Persons with disabilities face many barriers to accessing food, medicines, and lifesaving assistance in situations of conflict and emergencies. What gaps do we need to close to secure truly inclusive humanitarian action?  

One of the panelists in the roundtable discussion was Marit Sørheim. She called for «genuine inclusion,» moving away from treating inclusion as an afterthought and towards it being a central component of every intervention – right from the start.  

However, disability inclusion is not the only issue. Far too often, the UN planning structures, the so-called cluster system, do not generally include the meaningful involvement of local actors. Localization is the keyword here. Donors must ensure the meaningful participation of local organizations, be they OPDs, women’s organizations, or other grassroots movements. Meaningful inclusion is also a prerequisite for fulfilling the requirements in the IASC guidelines, which is also reflected in the new Norwegian humanitarian strategy.  

«There is definitely more commitment now to ensure genuinely inclusive humanitarian action – but – a huge challenge is going from commitment to action,» Marit Sørheim stated during her introduction.

The Atlas Alliance looks forward to contributing to inclusive humanitarian action, and towards working in concert with the international Disability Rights movement to achieve a disability-inclusive Summit of the Future.