Disabled People's International (DPI) organized a Side Event at the Civil Society Forum ahead of the 5th Conference of State Parties in New York on September 11, 2012. The session was opened by Ms. Judith Heumann, Special Advisor on International Disability Rights, US Department of State. Mr. Shuaib Chalklen, Special Rapporteur on Disability chaired the Session and Ms. Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Coordinator, Office for Disability and Inclusive Development, USAID co-chaired it.

The event saw an eclectic mix of panelists from all across the world representing different organizations and stakeholders. An emphasis on including people with disabilities from the Global South, especially women and girls with disabilities and those with psychosocial disabilities, in the social and economic framework was made.

The fact that there is a need to break the myth that the Global South does not have the ‘capacity’ to participate and engage in the process of development planning was highlighted.

What came across most strongly was that people with disabilities need to be at the forefront of the movement. It is therefore an onus on the part of the INGOs and donors and international agencies, who are working on disability, to employ people with disabilities from the Global South in decision making roles. Unless that transition takes place, the paradigm shift will never occur. And, ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’ will just remain that, a slogan!