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Accessible Global Governance Study

UN COSP-7 Opening Day Forum Photo      UN COSP-7 Banner Photo      UN COSP-7 Side Event Photo

More than one billion people in the world live with some form of disability (World Health Organization/World Bank, 2011). This means that nearly 15% of every country's population has some form of disability. Many persons with disabilities organize their policy advocacy through Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs), including their engagement with the United Nations system. While the movement toward multistakeholder participation in global governance processes has opened opportunities for civil society engagement, many believe it has not fully enabled persons with disabilities to participate in the UN system; therefore, limiting the impact of DPOs on international decision-making processes, with the notable exception of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and DPO participation in the annual Conference of State Parties (COSP) to the CRPD. Outside of the annual COSP to the CRPD, multiple factors may limit the ability for persons with disabilities to participate in global governance processes.

The purpose of this study is to better understand the factors that enhance or limit the participation of Persons with Disabilities in the UN system and broader global governance processes.

The methodology for the study is a three-phase, simultaneous mixed-methods design. It includes qualitative methods (i.e. interviews, focusgroups, participant observation, and content analysis) and quantitative methods (i.e. surveys and social network analysis). Participants for all phases are drawn from a stratified, purposive sample, as well as a snowball sample. Multistakeholder participants include: DPO leaders, UN officials, government officials, intergovernmental organizations, private sector representatives, and other civil society groups selected to ensure representation across the UN System and to ensure regional and stakeholder balance.

Preliminary findings from Phase I of this study were presented at the Side Event "Participation of Persons with Disabilities in the UN System and Broader Global Governance Processes" at the Eighth Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP-8) in June 2015, and at the Side Event "Towards Full Inclusion of Disabled Persons in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and Global Governance Processes" at the UN General Assembly Sustainable Development Goals Summit in September 2015.