La Rochelle, Poitou-Charentes (F), 20th October 2011
The working group “Equal Europe for People with Disabilities” of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) met this Thursday in La Rochelle (F) to the kind invitation of Segolène Royal, President of Poitou-Charentes, and Michèle Sabban, President of AER, to exchange views on successful strategies for implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The choice of Poitou-Charentes is no accident: disability is a political priority since 2004 and it is the first French region to have adopted an Agenda 22 on 15 December 2008.
Agenda 22 is a methodology for applying the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. It helps raise awareness around disability issues at all levels of governance and creates a framework for improving accessibility for all and across the board to all services, facilities and activities.
“This policy of the Poitou-Charentes region is fully in line with AER’s objectives to raise awareness among the regions about the UN Convention and support them to implement its provisions,” stated Metin GENÇ, Chairperson of the AER working group “Equal Europe for People with Disabilities”. “Today the three regions of Poitou-Charentes (F), Hessen (D) and Värmland (S) each showcased their action plans for implementing the UN Convention and have proven once again that one size does not fit all and diversity matters,” he added.
“The achievements in the field are solid proof that what improves the quality of life of people with disabilities, also improves the quality of life of the entire population in all areas of daily life and in particular in the areas within the region’s competence: education, training, employment, transport, sport, culture, health…” added Patrick LARIBLE, Regional Councillor of Poitou-Charentes in charge of Disability.
The common denominator in all regional strategies discussed was that the participation of civil society is key. Indeed, it is the role of the regional and local authorities to encourage and support NGOs, private stakeholders and public authorities, in order to guarantee equal opportunities for people with disabilities once and for all.
The Assembly of European Regions (AER – aer.eu) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together 270 regions from 34 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
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