RI May 2013 Newsletter

June 19, 2013
Source: Rehabilitation International

Dates & venues for the upcoming RI meetings Dates Meeting Place

September 20-21, 2013 EC & Commission Meetings New York, U.S.A.
September 22, 2013 2013 RI GA New York, U.S.A.
October 6-10, 2014 RI European Conference on Rehabilitation Poland (expected in Warsaw)

For more information please see our website www.riglobal.org

RI News
RI Global wrote a letter to the Director General of WHO in June 2012 asking her to ensure that the WHA in 2013 adopts a new Resolution on Disability. Ecuador came up with a concrete proposal on this issue which was debated and adopted at the January 2013 meeting of WHO’s Executive Board in Geneva. RI’s President participated in the EB meeting and made a statement on this issue.
On May 24 this year, the World Heath Assembly adopted a new Resolution on Disability which is an important outcome for persons with disabilities across the world. The resolution strongly urges Member States and similarly requests the Director General of WHO to ensure future actions for persons with disabilities. One of the most important points in the Resolution is that WHO, in consultation with other organizations and Member States, shall come up with a comprehensive Action Plan on how to achieve the goals spelled out in the Resolution on Disabilities that was adopted by the WHA. RI Global is committed to provide inputs to WHO on the preparation of the Action Plan as indicated by the RI President in his Statement to the WHA. The Resolution is available online at: http://apps.who.int/gb/e/e_wha66.html.

WHO organized a technical briefing in Geneva on 23 May where Director General Dr. Margaret Chan welcomed the participants. The event chaired by Peter Woolcott, Ambassador of Australia to the UN in Geneva, featured a video presentation by Professor Stephen Hawking while WHO’s Dr. Etienne Krug spoke on Disability and Health. The presentation was followed by a Panel Discussion which included a known philosopher with a disability from Switzerland, the Ambassador of Spain, the Minister of Health from Nigeria, the Deputy Minister of Health from South Africa and a representative from the US Government. The panelists’ presentations all focused on the importance of a concrete outcome from the HLM as they relate to health issues of persons with disabilities. At the discussion that followed, several Member States took the floor and spoke about their work and commitment on Disability issues. RI President Jan A. Monsbakken also made an intervention on behalf of RI where he cited the importance of creating inclusive societies and for health systems to ensure universal coverage. He similarly stressed the importance of including habilitation and rehabilitation services in the outcome document from the HLM in September.

RI Europe meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia on April 18, 2013
RI National Secretaries from Germany, Finland, Great Britain, Norway, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Slovenia and the Czech Republic were hosted by Mr. Robert Cugelj, Institute/Hospital for Rehabilitation and RI National Secretary of Slovenia, for RI-Europe’s first regional meeting in 2013. RI Europe is an important and active part of the RI Global network. In their bi-annual meetings RI National Secretaries exchanged actual developments in the field of rehabilitation in the European countries and gave new inputs for the worldwide work of RI.

RI President Jan Arne Monsbakken discussed about the great success of the 22nd RI World Congress held 30 October to 2 November 2012 in Incheon, South Korea which significantly increased the level of awareness on RI. RI’s growing influence has become clearly noticeable, especially on its collaboration with various UN agencies.

RI Vice President, Dr. Joachim Breuer, Regional President for Europe, informed that there are considerations to develop standards for rehabilitation in Europe. Therefore the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), the Austrian and Swiss equivalent (AUVA and SUVA) developed together a position paper to advance this idea on more than the country level. This position paper will be presented to the public at the European Forum on Accident insurance to be held in Helsinki June 17-19, 2013.

The following topics were discussed:

  • WHO Guidelines on Rehabilitation

WHO has started to develop International Guidelines on Rehabilitation. RI Europe called for a very close co-operation between WHO and RI as the main expert organization in rehabilitation. The RI Secretariat in New York will continue to be involved in this subject.

  • RI and the European Council

RI’s Liaison Officer at the European Council, Dr. Regina Ernst, provided information on the conference of International NGO’s and announced the “World Forum for Democracy” that will be held November 27 -29, 2013 in Strasbourg to discuss how social networks and the internet could influence the social work of society.

  • European RI Congress 2014

The Polish RI National Member Organization (PFRON) presented a first draft of the European RI Congress planned for October (6-10), 2014 in Warsaw, Poland. The main focus will be on holistic rehabilitation, especially “Return to work”, Implementation of the UN Convention and ICF in Europe. Details about the Congress will soon be made available.

The next RI Europe meeting will take place in Warsaw, Poland on September 3, 2013.

Saija Kivimäki, web journalist, Rehabilitation Foundation provided us with the following report:

  • Finnish National Rehabilitation Conference held April 10-11, 2013 in Helsinki, Finland

In April, more than 300 practitioners, decision and policy makers, leaders and administrators of rehabilitation gathered for the annual conference in Helsinki to discuss current issues in rehabilitation. This year the conference was held for the 41st time and it was organized by the Rehabilitation Foundation. One of the main topics for this year’s conference was how to reintroduce people with partial work ability into the labor force. In Finland, aging population has become a worrying phenomenon in recent years, and the political will is to enact measures that lengthen careers. The most common grounds for claiming partial work ability are musculoskeletal diseases and mental disorders, which could be treated by the variety of measures offered by rehabilitation. The conference received greetings from RI President Jan Monsbakken who introduced the organization’s new strategy for promoting the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities. Monsbakken also attended the workshop on community-based rehabilitation (CBR). Monsbakken shared examples of CBR practices in his homeland Norway and pointed out that CBR is in fact practiced in more developed countries although the term community-based rehabilitation is rarely used.

  • The 2012 RI Australia third annual forum, ‘Taking the Roof off Housing’, was held in Canberra on 27 November last year. The Forum was designed to bring together a range of stakeholders in order to stimulate discussion about the diverse factors which need to be considered by policy makers and planners in order that housing accessibility and affordability is maximized for both people with disabilities and for the ageing population. The full report is now available at: http://www.riaustralia.org/
  • Ms. Ghazala Hameed, National Secretary for RI in Pakistan and Vice President of RI member organization, The Pakistan Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (PSRD) said a “STATE OF THE ART OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY CENTRE JUST OPENED IN PAKISTAN”, specifically at the PSRD rehabilitation complex in Lahore. The new unit includes treatment rooms, play- and learn-areas for daily living and work skills, sensory room and speech and language therapy room. An activity room has also been provided where adults and children receive hands on training in making arts and crafts, and cooking. Currently 1600 patients use the facility. With the growing awareness of the importance of occupational therapy which is now available at affordable costs, however, the number of those who would avail of the services being offered including therapies, is expected to grow. Participants in the hands-on trainings appreciate the clean, bright and spacious environment and the quality treatment provided by caring and experienced therapists. The project has been completed with the support of local donors, The PSRD Foundation (TPF) and the World Rehabilitation Fund." For further information about the organization please visit their website: http://www.psrd.org.pk/
  • On 25th March, 2013, RI member in Chinese Taipei, Taiwan, Eden Social Welfare Foundation conducted a Workshop on International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health ICF). Professionals from various fields were invited from Japan, Canada, and Taiwan to share their experience in the implementation of ICF approved by the World Health Organization. Patrick Fougeyrollas (extreme left in the picture below), RI Regional Vice President for North America, was one of the speakers.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

  • 2013, September 4 – 5 SEDUCE - Space-x-Exchange Forum in

Vienna, Austria. The forum titled “How Design Morphs Visual Impairment"
investigates how smart design solutions can persuade rather than lecture and
lead to an intuitive understanding, acceptance of and support for visual
impairment. Not only through legal regulations, but by appealing design
solutions for the general public shall make visual impaired people’s
environment easier to experience and enjoy. For further information please
see: http://www.space-x-vie.net/?pg=3

  • 2013, September 11 – 14 12th Congress of European Forum for

Research in Rehabilitation in Istanbul, Turkey. The human health and
science-technology are continuous and dynamic due to the developments in
socio-economic changes of societies. Professionals working in the field of
rehabilitation will provide shared knowledge to be used in human health, new
scientific research, and for the improvement of educational efforts in
rehabilitation. Dr. Friedrich Mehrhoff, German Social Accident
Insurance and Vice Chair of the RI Work and Employment
Commission will speak in the congress. For further information please
see: http://www.efrr2013.org/

  • 2013, September 23 High-level meeting of the General

Assembly on disability and development at the UN in New York,
USA. Theme: “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda
towards 2015 and beyond”.

  • 2013, September 26 – 28 10th Autism-Europe International

Congress in Budapest, Hungary. The slogan of the congress is “New
Dimensions for Autism”. It focuses on the most recent developments across
the field of autism, including causes, genetics, diagnosis, early intervention,
treatments, education, support, employment, rights and policies, among
many more. For further information please see:

  • 2013, October 4 – 6 International Istanbul Initiative on Ageing

2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. Full papers and abstracts are being sought –
Due date is May 31st 2013. For further information please visit:

  • 2013, October 16 – 18 2nd International Conference of the

World Federation of the Deaf in Sydney, Australia. The Conference is
hosted by the Deaf Society of New South Wales, Australia and is themed
“Equality for Deaf People”. For further information please visit:

  • 2013, November 27 – 29 2013 World Forum for Democracy

"Rewiring democracy - reconnecting citizens and democratic
institutions in the information age" in Strasbourg, France. The forum
will be organized by the Council of Europe in partnership with the City of
Strasbourg and a range of international organizations, think tanks,
foundations, and other partners from the public and private sectors. It will
provide a platform for emerging leaders and grassroots initiatives that foster
participation and re-connect citizens and democratic institutions. Participants
from the world of politics, academia, civil society, business, media and social
networks will critically review these innovative initiatives, assess their
mainstreaming potential, inject new ideas into them, and identify the most
promising ones for further promotion and dissemination. Participants, as well
as the "global community" (via social networks and internet voting) will
select the most promising initiatives that will receive the Council of Europe
recognition for democratic innovation. For further information please see:

  • UNICEF – State of the World’s Children report 2013: Children with Disabilities On 30 May, UNICEF launched the 2103 edition of its flagship publication, State of the World’s Children that focuses on children with disabilities. The report covers children with disabilities in a varying worldwide landscape: how do they fare at home, in school, or at health care centers? What happens to children with disabilities in emergencies or conflict? How do these situations fluctuate around the world? The Report argues for inclusive and equitable approaches in such areas as early childhood development, education, health, nutrition, humanitarian response and protection. Based on documented experience and examples, the report will recommend ways in which Governments, the private sector, international donors and agencies, and other stakeholders can help advance this agenda.The report also gives a voice to children to encourage their position as architects and agents of change in their towns, villages and cities, regardless of ability. To this end, in addition to the main narrative and expert technical panels, the report features perspectives, or personal essays, by policymakers, parents, care providers, celebrities and role models with disabilities and, most significantly, young people with disabilities that have accomplished personal or professional goals or are striving to do so. The report will foster greater attention on these children’s global needs and remarkable potential. For further information please see: http://www.unicef.org/sowc/
  • The 6th session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP6) will be held from 17 - 19 July 2013. The theme for this session is: “Ensuring adequate standard of living: empowerment and participation of persons with disabilities within the framework of the CRPD”. The sub-themes are: 1. Economic empowerment through inclusive social protection and poverty reduction strategies; 2. Disability-inclusive development in national, regional and international processes; and 3. Community-based rehabilitation and habilitation for inclusive society. Prior to the Conference, a multi-stakeholder Civil Society Forum (CSF) will be organized by the International Disability Alliance (IDA), Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI), Rehabilitation International (RI) and the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD), with the usual support of DESA and sponsored by States Parties. For more information please visit: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1606

Resource Update

  • International training courses in inclusive and rights based CBR

Bangalore University is starting admissions for the academic year 2013-14
for its National Level Human Resource Development (HRD) Programs for
Community Based Rehabilitation. Admission Mode: Online application
submission; Admission Starts: 1st May 2013 closes on 30th June 2013.
International students are welcome. Please send an email to
bucbr@hotmail.com or ideasianetwork2013@gmail.com for further details.
Resource Material


  • A new comprehensive booklet on individualized educational

program (IEP) for children with deaf blindness and multi sensory
impairments by SENSE INTERNATIONAL (INDIA) is now available
online. This booklet provides a step by step guide to understand, develop and
write effective IEP’ s for children with deaf blindness. This booklet is useful to special educators and families working with deaf blind children. It is available here: http://www.senseintindia.org/pdf/A%20comprehensive%20book%20on%20Individualised%20Educational%20Programme%20for%20Children%20with%20Deafblindness%20and%20Multi%20Sensory%20Impairments.pdf

  • The Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) has launched a new web portal (as a pilot project) called United Nations Social Development Network (UNSDN) to share knowledge and good practices among social development professionals worldwide on ageing, civil society, cooperatives, disability, employment, family, indigenous peoples, poverty, social integration, technology and youth. UNSDN is also uniquely positioned to disseminate information and knowledge produced by the United Nations system in the area of social development, particularly on the three core issues of poverty eradication, employment generation and social integration. UNSDN will act as a major interface between DESA and its partners working in the areas of social development. DESA intends to strengthen its relationships with its partners involved in advancing the global social development agenda. We, therefore, invite you to visit the portal and explore how you can contribute to it and engage effectively with DSPD-DESA and the United Nations system as a whole at: http://www.unsdn.org.

Other News

  • The 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations raised awareness on the contributions older people make to society and encouraging stakeholders at all levels to take action by creating opportunities for active ageing and strengthening solidarity between generations. The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA) was established to increase the average healthy lifespan in the EU by 2 years by 2020. This innovative partnership has a special focus on active and healthy ageing by providing new innovative solutions and addressing the challenges of ageing. This is critical as the number of people aged 60 and over will increase by 2 million every year in Europe. This Partnership pursues a triple win for Europe: (1) improving the health and quality of life of Europeans with a focus on older people; (2) supporting the long-term sustainability and efficiency of health and social care systems; (3) enhancing the competitiveness of EU industry through business and expansion in new markets. For more information please visit: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/eipaha/
  • A new gene associated with a form of congenital heart disease in

newborn babies -- known as "a hole in the heart" has been discovered by
researchers. British Heart Foundation (BHF) Professor Bernard Keavney, from
The University of Manchester and Newcastle University, led the research
which saw investigators from Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford and Leicester
universities in the UK, together with colleagues in Europe, Australia and
Canada pool resources. The discovery, published in Nature Genetics today,
will help lead to better understanding of why some patients are born with the
disorder. Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common form of
congenital malformation, occurring in seven in 1000 babies born and is one
of the major causes of childhood death and illness. Most patients born with
CHD now survive to adulthood, so identifying the responsible genes is
important as experts attempt to provide individual-specific genetic counseling
for these people. For further information please visit:

Living with disability on display in rare art exhibit
Dozens of artists’ interpretations of living with and
experiencing disability are now part of a rare art exhibit in
Chicago, USA.

The Woman Made Gallery, in conjunction with the
Chicago Festival of Disability Arts and Culture, has
launched their summer exhibition “Humans Being II” to
give professional artists living with disability an
opportunity to push a frank discussion about what it
means to be disabled. There are about 40 artists featured
in the current exhibit. And noticeably, women artists
make up most of the exhibition’s roster. Humans Being II
is an exhibit that focuses on the experience of disability
as explored through contemporary art. Included are
painting, drawing, sculpture, mixed media, and
photography works. “Humans Being II” runs through June
For further information please visit: http://womanmade.org/
Picture above: Artist Madelyn Covey's "Pam's Bed" was inspired by the
woman she assists.

We hope you enjoyed reading this issue of the RI Monthly Newsletter. Tell us
about your activities and other stories so we can share it with RI members
and the world.
Jan Arne Monsbakken, RI President
Venus Ilagan, Secretary General
Iris Reiss, Rehabilitation Expert