With European society struggling to balance social rights with budget cuts in the face of the lingering economic crisis, the disability sector finds itself at a crossroad. The coming years will be decisive in shaping the social support services sector of the future, and we cannot do it alone. Cooperation and networking have to be developed at all levels to pave the way for an inclusive society where persons with disabilities can fully enjoy all their rights, and if needed, be supported by community-based services.
The European Union and almost all Member States have signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This decision opens new pathways to inclusion and should make our societies more cohesive.
Disability in this convention is no longer seen as an attribute of a single person but should rather be understood as the responsibility of society as a whole, in every area of life. Frameworks which guarantee the participation of each person in every aspect of life are the social challenges which all governments now have to take upwork on.
Our members are specialised service provision providers organisations for persons with disabilities and have a vast experience in the matter of designing appropriate frameworks. One of the objectives of EASPD is now to promote and expand on these best practices and experiences with society as a whole over the next few years.
EASPD's new strategic orientation - "Reaching out strategy – to build an inclusive society" - introduces our new approach designed to focus on further reaching out towards persons with disabilities, our members and allies as well as towards other stakeholders such as the European institutions. The strategic decisions and measures we have decided to implement will also be converted into concrete actions in our annual action plans for 2014 to 2017.
Through this document, EASPD has once again positioned social service providers as enablers of human rights for persons with disabilities.
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