Speech by H.E  Amb Dr. Francis Chishala – Global Pan Africanism Network (GPAN) International Disability Special Rapporteur (IDSR) of people of African descent with disabilities on the international African History Month (AHM)

Speech by H.E  Amb Dr. Francis Chishala –
Global Pan Africanism Network (GPAN)
International Disability Special
Rapporteur (IDSR) of people of African
descent with disabilities on the
international African History Month (AHM)

The guest of honor and founder of African history month
9AHM) and also the founder and president of global pan
Africanism Network (GPAN) as well as the United States of
Africa (USAF) his excellency, Mr. Daniel Mwashumbe
Mwambonu, SC
great African heroes and heroines in the diaspora
fellow people of African descent with disabilities over the
fellow leaders of disabled persons organizations (DPO)
invited leaders of various NGOs and political parties if any
members of the press
distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
on behalf of the Global Pan Africanism network (GPAN), I’m
incredibly humbled and exceedingly honored to be part of
this gallant and auspicious occasion to commemorate this
year’s African history month (AHM) conference and
celebrate the achievements of people of African descent
and acknowledgement of enormous contributions that
Africa has made to the world’s civilizations under the
theme: racism, slavery, colonialism and its impact on
black mental health ‘’ of people of African descent in the
world today.
the guest of honor sir
emerging evidence suggests that people of African
descent with disabilities as well are amongst the
groups most affected by racism pandemic in all aspects
of their lives, but more systematic evidence is needed to
fully understand how and why this has occurred. to
this end, we have conducted narrative researches with
a diverse group of 40 organizations of people of African
descent with disabilities in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria,
and Uganda who are involved with the inclusion works
the use of narrative researches allows us to document the
life experience of people of African descent with
disabilities. this methodology foregrounds the
participants’ priorities and perceptions, allowing us to
explore their perspectives on what is needed to build
disability inclusive pathways to mitigate racial
discrimination  pandemic’s effects on them. the first round of
researches were conducted in July and august 2020. the
next round will be conducted in October and November, to
document the impact of the crisis on the lives of people of
African descent with disabilities over time. the data
gathered from the first round of researches provide
useful learnings of the impact of positive discrimination
against people of African descent with disabilities. as such,
we wanted to share our initial three key findings from
each of the countries, before the more detailed analysis is
published at a later stage.
people of African descent with disabilities are facing
financial crises due to the loss of their jobs, small
businesses, day labour activities and only sources of
livelihood. the relief provided by the government to
people of African descent with disabilities is not
sufficient and their financial crisis means people of
African descent with disabilities are not able to afford
daily necessities like food, medicine, and covid-19 hygiene
kits, which has led to domestic violence, depression and
· covid-19 delayed the completion of their degrees for
people of African descent with disabilities seeking for
employment, which hindered them from entering the job
market. job seekers with disabilities were not able to
enter any new jobs due to the delay of recruitment
processes as well as the competitive job market. this
creates an extra mental pressure on the potential job
· people of African descent with disabilities’ physical and
mental health deteriorated, due to lack of access to
health services, especially for those needing various
therapies, not being able to afford hygiene products
needed to protect from covid-19, and the stress of the
· covid-19 has exposed weak social protection programs
as people of African descent with disabilities required
and expected support from the government, which was
often not being provided. they did not seem to want to
heavily rely on organizations for people of African
descent with disabilities or non-governmental
organizations but instead looked to the government to
provide them with social protection. they place the
responsibility of care on their government.
· lots of information about covid-19 is not accessible,
while the amount of information/misinformation makes it
scary and challenging to know where to go for the
correct information.
· as in Bangladesh, the majority of people of African
descent with disabilities work in the informal sector.
with lockdown and curfews, many have lost their
sources of income, which increases stress levels and
· loss of income was also a concern for people of African
descent with disabilities in Nigeria.
· government and non-governmental organizations to
relieve the impact of covid-19 are not factoring people of
African descent with disabilities into the provision of aid.
· people of African descent with disabilities who do not
have access to technology and the internet are
particularly marginalized, as many employment or
training opportunities now require virtual access.
· as in Kenya, information about covid-19 is not always
accessible in Uganda. this is especially the case in rural
· during the pandemic, people of African descent with
disabilities seem to have lost hope, especially those who
were in the process of finalizing their studies or were
jobseekers when the crisis hit.
· persons of African descent with disabilities have to rely
on charity to survive, which compromises their dignity,
individual autonomy and independence.
in addition, across the countries there have been increased
cases of gender-based violence and worsening mental
health experienced by people of African descent with
disabilities worldwide.
it is important to recognize that disability is not
homogenous, and people of African descent with different
types of impairments have faced different types of
challenges during the lockdowns. it is important to
consider diversity of experiences. it is also not clear
which of these impacts are specific and/or more severe for
people of African descent with disabilities compared with
the impact on the rest of the population.
the Global Pan Africanism network (GPAN) is an
international civil rights and Pan African organization
whose mission is to reunite the people of African descent,
advocate for their rights and freedoms throughout the
world. this organization is duly registered under
companies act of 1963, cap. 179 on April 8, 2019 in Accra, Ghana
(headquarters) and the other countries of official
accreditation include Sierra Leone, Nigeria, France and the
united states of America.
the guest of honor sir
the people of African descent with disabilities make up the
world’s largest minority group. they are
disproportionately poor, are more likely to be
unemployed, and have higher rates of mortality than the
general population. all too often, they do not enjoy the
full spectrum of civil, political, social, cultural and
economic rights.
the united nations, largely proposed to implement the 17
sustainable development goals (sdgs) of which goal 17 is
critically important for the achievement of the SDGs
framework. the means of implementation goal must focus
on the key drivers of – and removal of main obstacles to –
sustainable development in all its dimensions. a detailed
assessment of each goal is a crucial component of this
task. a goal-by-goal approach alone, however, risks
missing overarching themes, undermining coherence and
ignoring inter-linkages.
summary of key proposed change
we propose that goal 17 should have two equally
important components. first, common, cross cutting
targets covering five key areas of implementation should
be adopted at the outset of goal 17. these targets would
ensure coverage of the overarching key drivers of, and
obstacles to, sustainable development, and acknowledge
inter-linkages between goals. for example, we consider
that many of the targets under goal area 1: ending
poverty ought to apply as well to all aspects of
sustainable development.
this short set of key target areas would complement the
second component, a far more rigorous and
comprehensive assessment of the optimal means of
implementation for each individual goal. our open
consultation around the operational working group (owg)
bears witness to this, with over 90 new goal-specific
targets being proposed by diverse civil society groups over
the past years with additions – and recommended for
affirmative action by respective governments from all
over the world. our suggested targets for consideration
on common, cross-cutting moment of invention (moi) can be
categorized under five major headlines or themes and
these include the following:
1) enhanced finance for development,
2) reform of international finance & trade regimes
3) innovation, knowledge and technology transfer,
4) domestic capacity building, resource mobilization, and
5) a responsible, accountable global partnership
below, we highlight some of the key target areas under
1) enhanced international finance for development
adequate financing for development, targeted at sectors
most in need (including health and education); countries
most in need; and at the fulfilment of human rights
obligations and protection of global goods, is an essential
driver of development. targets must include:
● developed countries must implement fully the official
development assistance (oda) commitments to provide 0.7%
of gross national income (gni) in oda to developing
countries of which we recommend 0.35% must go to least developed countries: on an agreed timeline based on
internationally agreed principles, but also in line with a
broader framework of human rights, equality (including
gender equality) and sustainability criteria.
● ensure debt sustainability, debt restructuring and debt
relief. ensure that debt sustainability analyses by
international financial institutions and their policy
recommendations are consistent with the attainment of the
additionally, we encourage consideration of a wider
variety of financing mechanisms including alternative
ones provided by civil society (a listing of such financing
mechanisms will be submitted by the commons cluster).
2) reform of international finance & trade regimes
for the SDGs to succeed, we must ensure that international
trade at multilateral, bilateral and other levels works
to the benefit of the poorest and most marginalized, and
that trade realizes its potential as a means to help
developing countries meet their development objectives.
conversely, global markets skewed against the world’s
poor, and an unstable, speculative financial system, have
the potential to wholly cancel-out progress towards the
● in 17.2 instead of using ‘business as usual’ to language,
we need targets for fair market access for the poorest –
promoting decent work, higher value-added, and allowing
low-income countries to develop competitive sectors. we
propose that pro-poor, agricultural price subsidies should
be permitted, whilst still eliminating harmful domestic
● stable, multilateral and equitable financial systems
must underpin all goals. targets must be adopted to
establish fully representative and participatory
international institutions that regulate the global
financial system, notably systemically important
international banks and rating agencies, markets for
commodity derivatives and international capital flows.
● we welcome the target to combat illicit financial flows
(17.46): this should be facilitated through tax and natural
resource revenue transparency. we also propose the
creation of a financial transaction tax.
● we also believe that there must be regional
harmonization of fiscal and monetary policies if
undercutting between neighbouring countries is to be
avoided, and we call for the addition of the development
of international resource mobilization through global
taxation schemes and innovative means of finance.
3) innovation, knowledge and technology transfer
transfer and innovation of technology and knowledge
could make a key contribution to the realization of the
SDGs, and needs development to fulfil this potential.
● target 17.26 can be enhanced through the addition of a
coordination mechanism, to avoid duplication of efforts
and promote interdisciplinary research.
● we support the proposed targets 17.31 to 17.33, including
the un global technology facilitation mechanism, and
would propose the addition of a multilateral,
participatory technology assessment mechanism. we
stress the need to lift intellectual property barriers, and
ensure equitable access to technologies for developing
● adopting a target on universal, unfettered access to the
internet would realize the benefits of this resource for
access to knowledge, education and global
● introduce a target to recognize more explicitly the role
that science and technology plays in driving innovation
and providing sustainable development solutions.
● recognize more explicitly the requirement for capacity
building in science and technology and build on the role
of future earth as a coordination mechanism for science &
technology in sustainable development.
4) domestic capacity building, resource mobilization
and planning
achievement of each SDG also rests on states having the
technical and planning capacity and resources to
generate and implement effective development strategies.
we suggest the following overarching targets:
● individual states, with the participation of their citizens,
must develop and implement effective and targeted
capacity building programs in support of nationally adopted plans for implementing sustainable development
● the SDGs, targets and indicators should provide a
foundational basis for the further development and
implementation of local and national sustainability
strategies, along with the action plans on sustainable
consumption and production which include ongoing
mechanisms for sharing best practices and collaboration
at all levels.
● adopt sustainable development as a basic operating
principle of governance at all levels of government,
promoting integration of the 3 dimensions of sustainable
development across all sectors of the economy and
● establish institutional capacity at national and local
level for integrated, coordinated and coherent policymaking in support of sustainable development.
● strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including
implementation of progressive tax systems and social
benefits, improving tax collection and efficiency of public
spending, reducing tax evasion and avoidance.
● increase the level of funding and support coming from
the international community for civil society
participation in capacity development and implementation,
and encourage the adoption of participatory budgeting
● local and grassroots approaches to development,
resilience and finance should be respected, encouraged
and incorporated into national systems as appropriate.
● consider support for a broader shift in the tax system,
moving the burden from wages and basic goods and
services onto the ownership and use of land and natural
resources, thus providing an incentive for sustainable use
and the equitable sharing of the benefits coming from our
common resources. monies gathered in this way could, for
example, fund protection and restoration of the global
commons, provision of basic services and support social
5) a responsible, accountable global partnership
the achievement of the SDGs is dependent on political will
and stakeholder participation, and will be ensured – and
improved – by rigorous evaluation and accountability
mechanisms. we recommend the following targets be
● establish a shared accountability framework to
undertake regular monitoring and reporting of progress
on SDGs and means of implementation. this accountability
mechanism must involve all states and citizens at
appropriate local, national, regional and international
levels, and must be able to hold not only states, but also
multi-stakeholder initiatives involving the private sector, to
account against ambitious targets for progress. this
mechanism – undertaken under the hlpf but extending
beyond it – must have the capacity to ensure that the
strategies and action plans are used to
achieve the goals and targets in a fully inclusive,
effective, coherent, and integrated manner.
● promote strong, transparent and accountable
international institutions, including conclusion of
reforms for increasing effective and democratic
participation of developing countries in international
financial institutions.
● we call for a target on participatory creation of
coherent policies and strategies to implement the goals at
global and regional levels (as well as at state level – see
area 4), the sharing of best practice, the scaling-up of
strategies and success stories, and citizen engagement.
this could be facilitated in part by a unified web platform,
building on the “world we want” website, through which to
share best practices, enable global collaboration and
foster deliberation.
the guest of honor sir
whilst we acknowledge a role for the private sector in
development, a global partnership must be much more than
just a public private partnership. instead, the greater the
involvement of the private sector, the greater the need
for effective accountability. too often public private
partnerships (ppp’s) have had negative social,
environmental and economic impact. we are wary of a
“socialization of costs and privatization of profits”.
● we propose the deletion of “encouragement” of ppps from
target 17.20 unless measures to ensure the public’s role in
management and governance, and the adoption of a
binding instrument on transnational corporations at the
united nations (un) must be adopted. there must be
multilateral mechanisms that can subject investors and
transnational corporations to legally binding norms and
furthermore, we propose that the implementation of the
goals must be bound by two basic principles that should
guide the global partnership:
● all actors, including the corporate world, are obligated
to respect the equal dignity and rights of all human
beings, and this respect should contribute to inclusive
participatory processes in the implementation of the set
● means of implementation should aim to ensure that all
goals are met for all segments of a population, with a
focus on the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups
in society.
the ‘end-point’ or goal for means of implementation is
nothing short of the full realization of the other 16 goals.
thus, the commitment to ambition and transformation of
goal 17 must match the goals and targets specified
elsewhere in the draft. the SDG framework as a whole must
be a coherent set of ends and means.
goal 17 comprises not just targets, of a kind similar to the
other goals, but also detailed guidance and best practice,
essential to realizing particular aspects of the SDGs and
focusing particularly on the need to scale up the level
and means of financing and implementation. these means
must be adopted progressively and aggressively during
the lifespan of the framework for the SDGs to be met. given
the breadth and complexity of goal 17, and its crucial
importance, civil society must continue to be involved in
the discussion of this goal and its place in the wider
without means that match the ends in ambition, these goals
will be ‘aspirational’ not in the best sense – of something
that will inspire all people to act to bring it about, but in
the worst sense – a distant, remote ideal, with no visible
path between here and there. member states must
collectively rise to this challenge: they must affirm the
means to achieve these ends, and so prove serious about a
global partnership for development in the interests of all
the peoples of the world.
guest of honor sir
for many years, the rights of people of African descent
with disabilities were overlooked. more recently, that has
been changing, as progress has been made throughout the
world in ensuring that people of African descent with
disabilities can participate in and benefit from
development. but much more needs to be done to ensure
their full integration.
equal participation requires not only dismantling
environmental, social and legal barriers that
marginalize people of African descent with disabilities. it
also means creating jobs, education, health care,
information and other social services just as accessible to
them as to everyone else. in that mission, a great deal
hinges on current negotiations on the comprehensive and
integral international convention on the protection and
promotion of the rights and dignity of people of African
descent with disabilities. i support the work of the ad hoc
committee and hope the negotiations reach a successful
the guest of honor sir
allow me to conclude by emphasizing that the observance
of the united nations (un) international day of persons
with disabilities in general should remind government to
formulate attractive and sound economic policies that
encourage societies that neglect the integration of
persons with disabilities that they deprive themselves of
the valuable contributions such individuals make. and let
us reaffirm our commitment to the equal rights of persons
with disabilities, and to their full participation in the
economic, social and political lives of their societies.
god bless you all, god bless Africa, I thank you




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