The ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Enabling Masterplan), ASEAN’s first regional action plan for mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in all aspects of its regional development agenda, was adopted by ASEAN leaders during the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore on November 15, 2018, and officially launched in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 3, 2018.

The General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA), a creative partnership of disabled people’s organizations (DPOs), civil society organizations in Southeast Asia, founded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), has promoted equal access to rights since 2011. The AGENDA network which consists of DPO partners in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam plays a significant role in advocating for implementation and enforcement of the Enabling Masterplan with national governments. AGENDA is also in partnership with the ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF) which is a regional network of DPOs and is accredited to ASEAN. ADF has member organizations in all 10 ASEAN member states and has worked to implement the CRPD and other disability rights frameworks in Southeast Asia. The programs are implemented with the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the United States Department of State.

Program Highlights

Capacity building focused on the specific knowledge and skill areas that DPO networks need in order to effectively leverage the Enabling Masterplan for local change: Network capacity building efforts are directed at five key focus areas including strategic communications, engaging with ASEAN, monitoring and evaluation, analysis of legal frameworks, and leveraging political processes for human rights advocacy

Leveraging Local Legislation: DPOs conduct a legal review analyzing specific laws for the Enabling Masterplan advocacy entry points and tracking planned legislation. This helps DPOs to align advocacy themes and efforts with key openings in the policy-making process. A legal diagnostic tool, developed by IFES legal and disability inclusion experts, was utilized by DPOs across the region to highlight areas for engagement.

Advocating with National Governments: AGENDA DPOs, building on years of experience advocating for disability-inclusive electoral processes, work toward the implementation of the Enabling Masterplan by engaging with policymakers in their countries. DPOs from countries around the region use new communication strategies to encourage their governments to realize the rights outlined in the Enabling Masterplan. DPOs and allied ASEAN officials create joint messages on the Enabling Masterplan and conduct meetings with national government officials, demonstrating solidarity with each other and strengthening the visibility of the regional plan.

Advocating for the Policy Platform Document: Using IFES’ policy platform methodology, DPOs in the AGENDA network determine their priorities for integrating the Enabling Masterplan action points at the national level. Gaining support from a cross-section of political stakeholders, including political parties, enable DPOs to continue incentivizing national governments to implement the plan.

Regional Dialogue: IFES’ regional dialogue methodology, which brings together disability rights advocates and election management bodies (EMBs), empowers DPOs to connect with officials. In 2019, IFES organized the Fourth AGENDA Regional Dialogue with the theme, “ASEAN Enabling Masterplan on Disability: Turning Commitments into Outcomes.” During this dialogue, DPOs examined approaches towards adopting the Enabling Masterplan policies and actions and strategize with government champions. The regional dialogue also brought global visibility to the Enabling Masterplan and early implementation efforts.

Ensuring the Implementation of the Enabling Masterplan: IFES increased the capacity of the AGENDA network to monitor the implementation of the Enabling Masterplan, supporting the instrument’s momentum after its adoption in December 2018 by highlighting success and analyzing challenges where improvements have yet to be realized. DPOs will follow progress both of national governments and ASEAN Sectoral Bodies as they integrate disability rights. To ensure the sustainability of the Enabling Masterplan, DPOs will collaborate on a monitoring and evaluation data collection and validation plan to complement official ASEAN data collection on the Enabling Masterplan implementation progress.