EASPD International Conference in Montenegro
An international conference on Flourishing Lives – Supportive Communities and Sustainable Development was held by EASPD together with its representative for Bulgaria NASO and the National Authorities of Montenegro in Podgorica (Montenegro) on 26–27 October 2017. The two-day event was attended by more than 200 representatives of EASPD member organisations from across Europe. NASO President Georgi Georgiev took part in the conference in his capacity as a main representative of EASPD for Bulgaria and a member of EASPD Board. Other Bulgarian members and representatives of EASPD also were present. Among the official guests were Mr Nikola Petrović-Njegoš, Prince of Montenegro, Mr Kemal Purišič, Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Mr Sinisa Bjekovic, Deputy Ombudsman. A welcome speech was given by EASPD President James Crowe.
The conference aimed to highlight the link between the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It was noted that sustainable development goals could be achieved by building supportive communities and by pooling our efforts to include everyone in them. It was also discussed how to encourage building supportive communities and what the role of local and regional authorities was in this process, as well as what the importance was of exchanging good practices and methods of empowering families of children with disabilities.
Mr Alfredo Ferrante, Chairperson of the Council of Europe Ad Hoc Committee of experts on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CAHDPH), presented the Council of Europe's Disability Strategy. Ms Victoria Lee, Programme Manager at the Office of the UN Human Rights Ambassador, explained the link between sustainable development goals and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
During the conference, eight workshops were held on a variety of topics including assistive technologies, individually-tailored service provision, human resource development, entrepreneurship, inclusive community building approaches, and others.
As part of sustainable development goals a Gaïa award ceremony for contribution to environmental protection was also held.
At the end of the conference Mr Georgiev invited all participants to the next EASPD conference to take place in Varna on 14-15 June 2018.