The ‘most significant’ disability meeting in the world kicks off

Posted 3 days ago by David McManus
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities has 50 parts. [Source: Alexandros Michailidis via Shutterstock]
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities has 50 parts. [Source: Alexandros Michailidis via Shutterstock]

Topics include: war, employment, sustainability and equality.

Key points:

  • Nine delegates will be funded to attend, along with Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill Shorten
  • The conference will take place from June 11 – 13 in New York and attendees will include UN Member States, disability organisations, human rights defenders, UN entities and development partners
  • The aim of the conference is to ensure that countries keep their word to guarantee equality for all


The ‘most significant’ disability conference in the world has begun, with nine delegates from Australia in attendance, along with NDIS Minister Bill Shorten.

The 17th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will focus on the topic of ‘Rethinking disability inclusion in the current international juncture and ahead of the Summit of the Future.’


The theme will be addressed through three primary points of discussion:

  • international cooperation to promote technological innovations and transfer for an inclusive future;
  • persons with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies;
  • promoting the rights of persons with disabilities to decent work and sustainable livelihood.


Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth said the government is committed to working alongside people with disability to advance human rights in Australia and overseas.

“The nine delegates are representative of Australia’s diverse disability community and they will each have the opportunity to share their perspectives and experiences on the world stage,” Minister Rishworth said.

“Sending a broad delegation of people with disability to COSP17 demonstrates Australia’s commitment to disability inclusion and rights.

“We want to be world leaders in improving the lives of the more than one in six Australians with disability.

“This delegation brings to life our commitments in Australia’s Disability Strategy to ensure people with disability can fulfil their potential as equal members of society.”


Recordings of the meetings and events of COSP17 are available via the United Nations website.


Minister Shorten said the delegation’s advocacy work aligns with the government’s unwavering commitment to meeting the obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“Upholding disability rights is a government priority and we will continue to engage with stakeholders at the national and international levels to ensure every person with disability is treated with dignity and respect,” Minister Shorten said.

“COSP17 is an opportunity for Australia to reflect on the progress we have made so far to boost disability rights, while also reminding us of the work we all must do to create fully inclusive communities across the country.

“I’m pleased to be representing Australia at this conference. It will be great to hear from disability leaders across the globe about disability rights and inclusion,” Minister Shorten added.


A diverse group of delegates from Australia will attend the conference to voice their lived experiences and discuss the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which Australia has agreed to follow.


Paul Calcott from Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion, who will attend COSP17, said sharing his experiences on the world stage would be so important.  

“As an Australian Aboriginal man and community Elder living with disability, having the opportunity to represent our mob at COSP is a huge privilege and an opportunity to share my culture and our stories and reflections of the UNCRPD from our unique cultural perspective,” Uncle Paul Calcott said.


Clare Gibellini, from Women With Disabilities Australia and co-chair of the Autism Strategy Oversight Council, said COSP is an opportunity for people with disability to both learn and educate.

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to connect with and learn from my peers from around the world and to build on the experiences from last year’s conference,” Ms Gibellini said.

“COSP is a fantastic mechanism to promote the rights of people with a disability on a global scale and to showcase the strength and capabilities that people with disabilities have in leadership and driving conversations for change. 


Australia incorporates the UNCRPD into legislation and other government measures, including through:

  • the Disability Discrimination Act 1992;
  • the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013;
  • the Disability Services and Inclusion Act 2023 — introduced and passed by the government last year, effective as of January 1, 2024; 
  • Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021 – 2031;
  • the International Day of People with Disability program.


According to media from the United Nations, some issues that will be tackled relate to the employment disparity between people with and without disability, whereas others relate to war — including the ongoing situation in Gaza.


If you had the chance to share your experience at the convention, what would you say? Let the team at Talking Disability know and subscribe to the newsletter for more information, news and industry updates.


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