Natalia Guala from Grupo Social ONCE, and Ana Lucía Arellano, President of the International Disability Alliance, during the webinar.

Webinar on Disability and Cooperation between Latin America and Europe

On 28 May, European international cooperation programmes Bridging the Gap, EUROsociAL+, and SOCIEUX+ shared their experiences on working for the inclusion of people with disabilities in Latin America at the webinar “Europe & Latin America. Disability in bi-regional cooperation: The opportunity for a new normality, more fair for all”, hosted by Grupo Social ONCE. This webinar, moderated by Natalia Guala on behalf of Grupo Social ONCE, highlighted how the current COVID-19 response has revealed challenges in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but has also opened windows of opportunity to move towards more fair and inclusive societies.

As the representatives of the three programmes explained at the start of the webinar, the cooperation experience contributes significantly to the development of inclusive strategies, ensuring that no one is left behind on the path to the new, post-pandemic normal.

Catherine Barme, coordinator of labour and employment at SOCIEUX+, presented the experiences of the Facility; particularly their cooperation with Peru, where several activities were conducted to promote the employment of people with disabilities in the labour market. She also referred to the COVID-19 response launched by SOCIEUX+ to address social protection, labour and employment issues related to the pandemic, through the implementation of short-term, peer-to-peer activities.

Andrea Mónaco, from the Area of Social Policies at EUROsociAL+, presented the programme’s actions to support inclusive policies for persons with disabilities in the Latin American region. Federico Martire, director of Bridging the Gap, shared the main results of  the programme and their efforts toward consolidation and sustainability. He also described Bridging the Gap’s disability-inclusive response to COVID-19, emphasising their support of a report by disability-rights organisations in Paraguay that details the inclusion of disability rights in the government’s response to the pandemic.

In addition to the three presenters, Ana Lucía Arellano, president of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), and Catherine Naughton, director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), also participated in the webinar. They reflected on the need for European cooperation to mainstream disability within their own activities by working together with disability-rights organisations to ensure inclusivity and meet the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.