Physicist Stephen Hawking’s decision to pull out of attending the Israeli Presidential Conference in June may be garnering top headlines, but the head of the UN’s Economic and Social Council NGO branch says Israel is the place to look for expertise and innovations in the field of disability rights and services.
Beit Issie Shapiro — Israel’s leading special needs organization furthering the rights, opportunities and services for people with intellectual or physical disabilities — this week hosted the first ever conference of Israeli advisers to the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
“Israel has much to offer the world through ECOSOC by sharing its expertise and incredible innovations,” says Andrei Abramov, who leads the council’s NGO branch. “Israel also has much to benefit, as ECOSOC helps countries to keep abreast of world developments and trends, and to monitor and implement international agreements.”
ECOSOC serves as the central forum for formulating economic and social policy recommendations to the UN and member states. Its advisers benefit from international networking opportunities, enhance their potential for impact, and the sharing of knowledge and resources.
Abramov spoke about the importance of sharing knowledge internationally.
“I have been inspired by what I have seen here at Beit Issie Shapiro and their innovations to make life easier for people with disabilities, and I believe that their knowledge and experience should be shared with the world,” says Abramov. “I have been extremely impressed by both the ideas that have come out of this forum, and by the motivation and dedication of all those involved.”
Attendees included Beit Issie Shapiro, the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Israel Women’s Network, Negev Co-existence Forum, SHATIL – New Israel Fund’s Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change Organizations, and Yad Sarah. Altogether 15 organizations were invited to attend the meeting — 13 of them have already been awarded Special Consultative Status while the other two have been recommended for this status.
Jean Judes, Executive Director of Beit Issie Shapiro, said: “We are delighted to welcome Andrei Abramov to speak at this first-ever forum in Israel. It has opened the doors to greater co-operation between the Israeli organizations that are honored to be representatives of Israeli civil society at the UN, and will help to increase co-ordination between Israel and the world for the benefit of the people we all serve.”