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3rd AU Conference of Social Development Ministers Focus on Persons with Disabilities in Africa

3rd AU Conference of Social Development Ministers Focus on Persons with Disabilities in Africa

Addis Ababa, 29 November 2012: The Ministerial Meeting of the Third Session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Social Development (CAMSD3) opens today Thursday 29 November 2012, at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Organized by the Department of Social Affairs of the African Union, the meeting was held under the theme Promoting The Rights and Welfare of Persons With Disabilities”, and aimed to consider policy, activities and organizational structures to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in  the Continent. Measures to address the wellbeing of children and families in Africa will also be considered, as well as measures to facilitate implementation of the Social Policy Framework for Africa.

Officially opening the meeting, Prof. Jean Pierre Onvehoun Ezin, AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, on behalf of AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, highlighted the situations of disability in Africa and how it affects disabled persons, noting that “It is time to change this, as we keenly need the talents of our brothers and sisters with disabilities to develop our economies and our communities”.

He further mentioned  that poverty is the one common denominator that impedes the wellbeing of all the vulnerable groups that will be addressed  during the  Conference, including the Family. “Then we will break up the pockets of socially and politically marginalized communities and break the cycle of inter-generational poverty” he added. He also called the conference to come up with concrete recommendations on the implementation of the Social Policy Framework that will contribute significantly to an inclusive economic growth and development on the continent.

Outgoing Chairperson of the Conference, H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Adem Ibrahim, State Minister of the Sudan, emphasized the need to finalize the restructuring of the African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI) during the  Session because of its major role in the implementation of the Continental Plan of Action of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2010 – 2019). He also presented his country’s offer to host Headquarters of the new ARI in Khartoum.

The Ministerial meeting was preceded by Expert meeting which was held from 26 to 27 November 2012. In their two-day deliberations, the ministers will consider the Report of the Experts’ Meeting, as well as accompanying documentation, including recommendations regarding the way forward to address the concerns of persons with disabilities, older persons in Africa, children and matters pertaining to the promotion of social policy interventions.

The meeting is being attended by AU Member States Ministers responsible for Social Development from AU Member States, the RECs,  the  AU Commission and AU Organs, UN Agencies, Development Partners, International, Regional and National Organizations, including CSO’s dealing with social development issues, Independent Experts and Resource Persons.

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