The International Communication Project (ICP) has been advocating with and for people with communication disability since 2014.
A key goal has been to raise the profile of communication disability, both general awareness of prevalence and incidence (how they occur and who might have a communication disability); and also to influence the policy landscape. Our work is to ensure that people with communication disability are taken into account by decision makers and influencers including engagement with the United Nations.
With the publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, upon which the UN will measure impact of its work until 2030, we took the opportunity to make the case for people with communication disability and produced The Importance of Speech, Language and Communication to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: A Summary of Evidence [PDF].
This is a narrative developed by colleagues representing each of the founding organisations of the ICP, which consolidates evidence to make the case for communication disability under the key sustainable development goals of poverty eradication, access to education and access to healthcare.
Since its publication, it has been used in numerous contexts and continues to form the basis of much of our influencing activities including the ICPs first side-event at the United Nations Conference of State Parties to the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The ICP continues to make the case for people with communication disability across the UN, at regional and global levels. In 2021, we made submissions to regional consultations for the implementation of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for Europe as well the Asia Pacific regions, which saw both written and service user accounts submitted by the ICP.
We then made a submission [DOC] to the 24th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to highlight the impact of communication disabilities on work and employment ahead of the general discussion in March 2021 on the right of persons with disabilities to work, with regard to article 27 of the Convention.
ICP was then successful in securing interventions at this year’s Conference of State Parties to the CRPD for Abed Ahmed, a well-known advocate for people with communication disability and teacher (known as the stammer teacher in the United Kingdom) and person with lived experience of communication disability; and Derek Munn, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Abed’s statement was particularly powerful.
ICP is now focussing on implementation of the Convention in each country with regard to communication need, and with the economic impact of communication disability. We’re also engaging with the CRPD to comment on the Committee’s draft General Comment on the right of persons with disabilities to work and employment (article 27 of the CRPD) and we’re also now planning our engagement at next year’s Global Disability Summit in Norway.