On March 30 and 31, IFES and AGENDA conducted the virtual Fifth Regional Disability Rights Dialogue which brought together representatives from organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs), ASEAN officials, national governments, private sectors, youth, international and national organizations. AGENDA aimed to share knowledge, information, and exchange of ideas on disability rights issues through the event. (Attachment 5)

On the first day, keynote remarks by Vice President of Programs at IFES Michael Svetlik, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau at the U.S. Department of State Fransisco Bencosme and the Acting Counsellor (Development) of the Australian Mission to ASEAN at the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Danielle Sever highlighted the importance of disability rights on a global scale. Mr. Svetlik emphasized IFES’s continuous support for promoting disability rights through its various projects across the world. Senior Advisor Bencosme provided insight into civil societies, opportunities and challenges for democracies and persons with disabilities. Counsellor Sever stressed the importance of cooperation and bilateral relationship-building for opening opportunities to advance the rights of persons with disabilities. The opening session received 313 views including playbacks.

AGENDA Disability Rights Advisor Tolhas Damanik gave a brief presentation on the significance of the Enabling Masterplan and the importance of mainstreaming disability rights across Southeast Asia’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts just before the breakout session. All participants were divided into five breakout room topics: promoting electoral access and political participation for persons with disabilities and marginalized groups; promoting disability-inclusive employment policies; accessible information and COVID-19 response and recovery; mainstreaming opportunities for youth with disabilities in ASEAN; promoting civic participation and conducting advocacy to mainstream disability rights. Participants identified challenges and suggested recommendations related to each topic.

On the second day, keynote remarks by Executive Director of ASEAN Youth Organization Agatha Lydia Natani and Program Manager of ASEAN Youth Forum Rastra Yasland stressed the importance of youth as the driving force of change. They should be included in the processes of democracy and development. Keynote remarks from Her Excellency Minister Ida Fauziyah, Ministry of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia, highlighted the role of ASEAN member states to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities and reinforced Indonesia’s commitment to disability inclusion in the workforce.

On the final day of the dialogue, the participants learned disability-inclusive approaches to advance COVID-19 response, recovery, and resilience in ASEAN and innovative strategies and best practices to build partnerships for disability inclusion in ASEAN. The panels engaged private sector companies on good practices for disability inclusive employment including L’Oreal Indonesia, Kerjabilitas, (these)Abilities and Enable Code alongside ASEAN Sectoral Bodies representatives from the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and Senior Officials Meeting on Social Development and Welfare who discussed the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan midterm review. Closing remarks were delivered by AGENDA Senior Program Manager Erni Andriani which reinforced the importance of ASEAN member states to mainstream disability rights and implement the Enabling Masterplan.

This was AGENDA’s first regional dialogue that involved youth influencers to promote the event with their communities and followers on social media. AGENDA provided virtual networking booths for youth influencers, Putri Ariani and Husein Jafar Al Hadar, AYO and AYF to facilitate cross-sector relationship building. In just about seven days of campaigning on social media, the hashtag #EnablingMasterplan reached 1.1M impressions on TikTok. A total of 229 participants attended the dialogue.

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