Alex Garcia at the United Nations
High-level Meeting on Disability and Development
23 September 2013


The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond.
This was the theme of the meeting for Chiefs of States and Government held in New York, on 23 September 2013 to include the persons with disabilities in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) until 2015 and beyond.

I, Alex Garcia, answered the informal survey from the United Nations and I had my candidacy approved to attend the High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development. I have been to New York from 20 to 24 September 2013. Please click here to read the survey: www.agapasm.com.br/espanol_41.asp

A billion of persons with disabilities live in the planet, 80% in developing countries, and we stayed out in the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UN in 2000, with the support of 191 nations. These goals are:

1 - Eradicate the hunger and poverty.
2 - Provide quality basic education for all.
3 - Promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.
4 - Reduce child mortality.
5 - Improve maternal health.
6 - HIV/AIDS reduction, malaria and other diseases.
8 - Ensure life quality and respect for the environment.
9 - Establish partnerships for development.

The high-level meeting was held with the opening plenary, consecutive two interactive roundtables and plenary closing.

The opening plenary featured statements by the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary General, the Chair of the Committee on the Rights and Participation of Persons with Disabilities, a personality that is actively involved in disability issues and a representative of nongovernmental organizations.

Order of the speeches:

1. Mr. William John Ashe, President of the General Assembly.
2. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General.
3. Mrs. María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Chair of the Committee on the Rights and Participation of Persons with Disabilities;
4. Mr. Stevie Wonder, legendary award-winning composer and musician, UN Messenger of Peace;
5. Mr. Yannis Vardakastanis, Chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), he father of two children with autism and author of the slogan "Nothing about us without us".

Roundtable 1:

International and regional cooperation and partnerships for disability inclusive development.

Coordination: Philippines and Spain

Roundtable 2:

The post-2015 development agenda and inclusive development for persons with disabilities.

Coordination: Finland, Tunisia

Relevant pronouncements

"Yet far too many people with disabilities live in poverty. Too many suffer from social exclusion. Too many are denied access to education, employment, health care, and social and legal support systems." The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

Warriors Mothers!

Stevie Wonder, spoke of the importance of making materials accessible to people with visual impairment.

"For society and development to include persons with disabilities, we need to have equal access to education and to knowledge and information. Yet out of millions of publications each year, fewer than five per cent are made available in accessible formats for visually impaired persons. In developing countries, an even smaller percentage of publications are available in accessible formats."

Wonder recognized the importance of mothers and I, Alex Garcia, totally agree. He said:

"God blessed me with a mother that taught me the world, and that helped me to grow with education and discipline". He remembers: "My mother told that if I did something wrong I would be spanked with the belt".

All persons with disabilities know that the mothers are fundamental to our integral development. I thank God, I have my mother here - and my father - and she has been by my side, honest, firmly, but carefully. Steve Wonder, thank you for remembering the mothers of the world.

"We cannot leave anyone behind!"

This was the phrase most often quoted by the Heads of State and Government, and it renews the hope of better days.

"It was a mistake not to include the persons with disabilities!"

This was the second phase pronounced by the Heads of State and Government. Many of them admitted directly the mistake of not have included the persons with disabilities in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

I noticed that only the United States highlighted a government program that provides assistive technology for deafblind people, which guarantee the rights established in the Convention for persons with disabilities. The United States recognizes the enormous complexity of the deafblind persons to develop.

About some countries...

I was impressed with the representative of Sweden. They did not talk about what to do or what they will do. They asked: How do we do that? This question mark shows understanding about the complexity of relationships. I am convinced that it is better to ask than to speak untruths.

The Ministry of Education of Finland, very polite and correct, as usual, coordinated a table and when the other Heads of State exceeded the time, she called their attention. Many of them wasted time with politics.

The Interventions of the England were very good.

The African countries, always aware of their needs, had a very good performance. I enjoyed!

Latin countries, with various types of falsehoods. Amazing, I am on the movement since I was born and I know that Latin America claims, in general, are poppycock.

The persons with disabilities from America know that there are many people that go to the United Nations with "lies". For instance:

We were in diplomatic environment to deal with a subject, in order to change things, when the representative of Venezuela, at the end of an empty speech shout: "Chávez lives!"

I do not doubt that they favor persons with disabilities to find out opportunities. I respect their beliefs on Chavez, but the time was too short and besides it is not cheap to be in NY!"

The Chancellor of Ecuador lost three minutes and almost dropped tears, because the former Vice President of his country did not win the Nobel Peace Prize last year - 2012. How come?

I did not realize the presence of representative or Head of the Brazilian state. Maybe I have not seen. It can be, I am deafblind. Please, if someone watched the speech of Brazilian representative, please tell me!

Alex Garcia - Video United Nations

Alex Garcia - Photos New York and United Nations


Alex Garcia
Deafblind Brazilian
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