The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and GLADNET (Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network on Employment and Training) have a common agreement since several years and its cooperation is being more and more reinforced. Both organisations promote the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Furthermore, GLADNET is also a member of the EASPD Standing Committee on Employment and contributes to the EASPD initiatives towards the implementation of article 27 of the UN CRPD. In the last GLADNET Annual General Meeting (AGM), Frabrizio Fea was elected as the new GLADNET chairperson. In this interview he explains his contribution during the beginning of this fruitful partnership between EASPD and GLADNET and its work in favour of an inclusive labour market in Europe.
Can you explain the work developed by GLADNET?
GLADNET is an important worldwide organization established in 1997 as an initiative of the Disability and Work Programme of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), funded to support the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). The network brings together research centres, universities, enterprises, government departments, trade unions and organizations of/for persons with disabilities. The Board is represented by a wide group of professionals working in those units. One of the main objectives is to promote disability policy and programme reform with emphasis on integrated training and employment options for working age persons with disabilities. These objectives are achieved through collaborative applied research projects and by the global exchange of information.
What does this new position mean to you?
In 2009 I had the opportunity to join the Board of GLADNET and a short time later I was elected Vice Chair. During that period I was also Vice President of the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities. Straightaway I had the feeling that both organizations were, and still are of course, so well connected within their goals and aims, particularly related to the implementation of the principles enshrined in article 27 of the UN CRPD, which pushed me to propose an agreement. Finally the protocol was signed by the two chair persons during a conference on employment held last September 2013 in Istanbul.
Nowadays we are still passing through a quite heavy time, not finished yet which end is still unknown. Even though almost each country has its own legislation related to employment and disabilities, too many persons with disability are unable to find a job, particularly in the open labour market. Thanking the hard work done by GLADNET and other national and international associations, a strong monitoring situation is kept under control to push authorities, employers, unions and other stakeholders to implement the Convention and the recognition and value of the local laws.
What will be your priorities and objectives?
One of my most important goal is to continue and promote what above-mentioned as a priority, through any potential instrument offered and found within GLADNET, the association I am honoured to chair since the beginning of 2016.
Dr Fabrizio Fea is Chair of GLADNET
and Director of the Associazione Scuola Viva onlus in Rome, Italy