WeThe15 has added United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) as its 19th partner, further strengthening the coalition of international organisations behind the initiative.
UCLG, a global network of 240,000 cities, local and regional governments, and municipal associations represents and amplifies the voices of local and regional governments to leave no-one and no place behind. By joining WeThe15, UCLG will ensure that disability inclusion is at the heart of the municipal movement through continued advocacy, learning and training with its members on equitable development; particularly through its Community of Practice on Inclusive and Accessible Cities and Territories.
With improving accessibility one of the five key focus areas of WeThe15 over the next decade, UCLG brings to the WeThe15 movement a wealth of expertise.
Emilia Saiz, Secretary General, UCLG, said: “As the world organisation of local and regional governments with more than 240,000 cities and territories, we strongly believe that we can further spread the reach, influence and impact of WeThe15 around the world.
“Together with our partners, we have set a strong political mandate to recognise the rights of all persons with disabilities by both actively and progressively promoting universal accessibility as a human right and pillar to sustainable development. Our involvement with WeThe15 will further strengthen our Pact for the Future and have a direct impact on the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities.”
Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), said: “UCLG’s involvement in WeThe15 broadens the footprint of what we are trying to achieve and provides access to hundreds of thousands of influential city and regional leaders whose decisions and policies have a transformative impact in the communities they serve.
“Only by initiating change at all levels of society, from local communities to governments, businesses to cities, will WeThe15 truly transform the lives of the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities who make up 15% of our society. The welcome addition of UCLG will certainly help WeThe15 as it looks to remove barriers, disrupt the stigma associated with disability and deliver the realisation of broad-based inclusion for persons with disabilities.”
UCLG’s recognition of accessibility as a key pillar to development is largely in part to the meaningful and direct engagement of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the Cities Are Listening processes including the UCLG Town Halls and Caucuses, which represent mechanisms led by civil society that actively shape UCLG’s policy agendas.
Such increased dialogue led to the creation of the UCLG Community of Practice on Inclusive and Accessible Cities and Territories, champion cities and territories committed to disability and age-friendly development.