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EASPD in New York: Co-production is a powerful tool to implement the CRPD

During the 8th session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN CRPD in New York, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) organised a side event in cooperation with the European Commission. Debating on co-production, participants agreed that cooperation across sectors is essential to apply values such as freedom, choice and control of life and stressed that society needs to prepare for the fundamental change.

As part of its cooperation with the United Nations (UN), EASPD is attending the 8th Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) from 9 to 11 June in New York. In addition, this year EASPD organised a side event on the concept of co-production and how to apply it on the development of services that promote inclusive living and participation in society (Article 19 UN CRPD).


The side event was co-sponsored by the European Commission, represented by Inmaculada Placencia Porrero. Additionally, it saw the participation of Mrs Catherine Naughton, Director of the European Disability Forum, the Secretary of State of Belgium, Mrs Elke Sleurs, and Mr Cveto Ursic, representative from the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of Slovenia.


Co-production, an inclusive working partnership between experts by experience (users), support organisations and authorities, is a “tool” and an “approach” that can help to promote the development of support services which meet individual needs and preferences and give users control and choice on their lives. Co-production was introduced as one of the elements that should be part of a holistic support framework and, when well implemented, it can positively address the enjoyment of rights through the design, development and delivery of services that are user driven.


During the event the perspectives of different stakeholders such as the European Commission and State representatives from Belgium and Slovenia, complemented the view of the users, represented by the European Disability Forum, highlighting how cooperation across stakeholders and rights holders, could contribute to the realisation of inclusive societies. Mrs Naughton particularly underlined that “persons with disabilities cannot be seen as stakeholders, but as rights holders and cooperation based on the UN CRPD principles is the only way forward”.


A facilitating policy framework, accessibility of information and awareness-raising on the human rights model were also identified as key principles to implement co-production approaches leading to positive outcomes for users.


The event was concluded by the Secretary General of EASPD, Luk Zelderloo, who underlined how “cooperation across sectors and with DPOs through co-production is essential to operate under a human rights framework that values freedom, choice and control on life. To this end legal frameworks need to be adapted and society needs to prepare for the fundamental change that will see users no more as passive recipients of care, but as rights holders that co-produce  individualised, tailored-made support within inclusive settings.”


The development and the set-up of community-based person-centred support services, according to Article 19 of the UN CRPD (Living Independently and Being Included in the Community) poses many challenges for the different actors of society. This requires in the first place the set-up of de-institutionalisation processes and the transition to community based services that can support individual needs. Cooperation is vital to ensure the development of truly inclusive societies, where participation and active involvement of persons with disabilities is a reality.


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Note to editors

The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 11.000 social and health services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole.



Nieves Tejada, EASPD Communications Officer
Sabrina Ferraina, EASPD Senior Policy Officer