The Future Role of the EU Structural Funds to Advance Community Living, 3rd May 2013

 Accurate as of 30 April 2013 - Subject to change.

1.   The Purpose of the Conference.
This conference marks a significant contribution during the Irish Presidency of the EU (2013) to the Europe-wide debate about the future role of the EU Structural Funds.  It will focus on the positive potential of the EU Structural Funds in assisting Member States to achieve community living for older persons and persons with disabilities including activation through employment.  This will be an event ‘in association with the Irish Presidency’ of the EU.

It is timely given that new Regulations governing the Funds are due to be concluded in 2013. The event is also timely given that Ireland is to the forefront in developing policies to end congregated settings and the EU is currently considering what role the Structural Funds might play in easing the transition to community living. GENIO– which is part funded by Government and philanthropy (Atlantic Philanthropies) – is also to the fore in Ireland in developing community living models for both older people and people with disabilities.  The EU, in addition to its Member States, has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities that crystallizes the right to community living which is based on general human rights applicable to all persons.  The link between voice (respecting what people want), choice (in terms of community living arrangements) and the foundations of true economic independence (through employment) will also be canvassed since the Structural Funds have important roles to play at all points on the continuum. 

The conference is open to all persons and groups interested in the development of positive EU social policy in the fields of ageing and disability. No prior knowledge of the Structural Funds is necessary. 

The speakers are drawn from a variety of EU-level institutions and others including the European Commission, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, the European Group of National Human Rights Institution and the United States Federal Administration for Community Living.  European level civil society groups will be represented by the European Disability Forum and Age Platform Europe.  The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (European Region) will also be represented.  The growing role of European philanthropy in achieving community living will be represented by the European Foundation Centre.  It will be opened by the Irish Minister for Older People, People with Disabilities, Mental Health and Equality – Kathleen Lynch, T.D.

2.   The Programme.
The one-day programme (3rd of May 2013, Galway, Ireland) will be divided into four sessions. 

The first session will focus on the evolving concept of community living, its support by European civil society and its emergence as a policy imperative at European level.  The keynote address will be given by Professor Jerome Bickenbach (Switzerland) who will reflect on the concept of community living/ageing in place as a shared goal by older people and people with disabilities.  This will be followed by a brief response by Professor Mark Priestly focusing on how the concept needs to be embedded in a new lifecourse policy perspective.

The second session will explore how the concept of community living is currently imagined in the context of older people as well as disability.  Camilla Parker (London) will focus on disability, Professor Meindert Haveman (Germany) will focus on older people and Madeleine Clarke (Genio Trust Ireland) will focus on innovation covering both.  Civil society perspectives from the European Disability Forum and Age Platform Europe will also be canvassed in this session to see where perspectives align.  The evolution and future trending of relevant European policy will also be covered.  An added impetus for community living in the disability domain comes in the shape of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which the EU and most of its member States have ratified.  Since this treaty consolidates existing international law it is fair to say that the obligation exists just as much in the field of older people.

The third session will link the conceptual understanding of community living/ageing in place for all to the Structural Funds.  It is crucially important that ideas and concepts of community living (and international law) inform the Structural Funds so that one of the European Union’s more important financial instruments is harnessed to achieve better outcomes for European citizens.  The current regime for regulating/implementing and monitoring the Funds will be made plain. The current negotiations in as much as they cover older people and people with disabilities will be made plain.  And European expert guidance on community living will also be broached.  The programme will also link US developments to EU developments by looking at how US Federal Funds are now been used to achieve community living for both older people and people with disabilities.

The fourth session will involve a structured dialogue between major stakeholders on how best to link conceptual developments with the new round of the EU Structural Funds.  These stakeholders include European civil society as well as European-level service providers, European National Human Rights Commissions, European philanthropy (to the fore in social innovation) and others.  This will enable a strong conference message on the future use of the Structural Funds to emerge from our conference rapporteur (Soros-Open Society Foundation).



08.30-09.00  Registration

09.00  Welcome: President Jim Browne, National University of Ireland, Galway.

09.10  Ministerial Opening - Minister Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State for Older People, People with Disabilities, Mental Health & Equality, T.D.

09.20 Short Video Message of Support: Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science (DG Research & Innovation).

09.25   Session 1 – Setting the Scene.

Chair: Senator Katherine Zappone, Senate of Ireland.

9.30  Keynote AddressThe Concept of Community Living for All – Values, Practice and Outcomes, Prof Jerome Bickenbach, University of Lucerne, Switzerland.

Responses: The importance of Community Living across the Lifecourse,

10.00               Maureen Piggot OBE, Council Member of Inclusion International and Director of Mencap Northern Ireland.

10.10               Prof Thomas Scharf, Professor of Social Gerontology and Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway.


10.20           Tea & Coffee

10.40 Session 2 - Disability and Ageing – Community Living and Ageing in Place – a Shared Agenda.

Chair: Martin Naughton, European Network for Independent Living.

Ideas – The Centrality of the Concept of Community Living.
10.45  What does it mean in disability context?: Camilla Parker, Just Equality, London.
11.05  Practical Innovation covering both in Ireland, Madeleine Clarke – (GENIO Trust, Ireland).

People – The Voice of European Civil Society & Community Living.
11.20  Pat Clarke (Executive Committee Member, European Disability Forum).
11.35   Louise Richardson (Vice President, AGE Platform Europe).

Policy: The Evolving European Policy Context.
11.50  The Right to Community Living – European policy perspectives, Inmaculada Placencia Porrero. Deputy Head of Unit, Rights of Persons with Disabilities Unit, DG Justice.

12.30 – 13.00  Q&A (Sessions 1 & 2)

13.00 – 14.00:  Lunch - Friars Restaurant


14.00 Session 3 – The Added Value of the EU Structural Funds, Past, Present and Future.

Ministerial Chair: Brian Hayes, Minister of State for Public Service Reform and the Office of Public Works, T.D..

14.00  The Regulation of the Structural Funds & Current Negotiations, Andor Ürmös, Policy Analyst, DG Regional and Urban Policy.

14.15 Current Negotiations – What’s at Stake for Older People & People with Disabilities, Professor Gerard Quinn, National University of Ireland, Galway.

14.30 Linking the new Structural Funds Regulations to Evolving European Standards: EU Expert Group Common European Guidelines on Transition to Community Living (2012),
Ines Bulic, European Expert Group.

14.45 Successful Transatlantic Experience:  Linking Federal Funding to Federal Policy of Community Living for older people and people with disabilities in the US; The New US Administration for Community Living (ACL), Kathy Greenlee, Administrator of the Administration for Community Living and US Assistant Secretary for Aging.


15.05 – 15.20             Q&A

15.20 – 15.30         Tea & Coffee


15.30 Session 4 – Dialogue on Getting the Maximum Added Value from the new EU Structural Funds Regulations to Aid Community Living and Activation Through Employment.

Dialogue led by: Hywel Ceri Jones, Co-Chairman of the European Consortium of Foundations on Disability and Human Rights, European Foundation Centre and former Deputy Director General of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, European Commission.
Civil Society: European Disability Forum (Pat Clarke), European Age Platform (Louise Richardson), European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities - EASPD (Kirsi Konola), Inclusion International and Mencap Northern Ireland (Maureen Piggot OBE).

International Human Rights: Jan Jarab, UN OHCHR (European region), Ludovica Banfi, EU Fundamental Rights Agency.

European Human Rights Commissions: European Group of National Human Rights Institutions (led by the Human Rights Commission of Scotland, Duncan Wilson), Northern Irish Human Rights Commission (Prof Michael O’Flaherty).

European Philanthropy: European Foundation Centre (Miguel Ángel Cabra de Luna).

European Commission: Rights of Persons with Disabilities Unit, DG Justice (Inmaculada Placencia Porrero).


Key Messages of Conference - Conference Rapporteur,  Raluca Bunea, Senior Program Officer - Open Society Mental Health Initiative, Budapest.

17.30 Close.

3.   Background to the Organizers.
The event is jointly directed by Senator Katherine Zappone, member of the Senate of Ireland and the Centre for Disability Law & Policy directed by Professor Gerard Quinn.  It is generously co-funded by the European Foundation Centre (EFC, Brussels) consortium of foundations on human rights & disabilities.

Senator Katherine Zappone is one of Ireland’s foremost thinkers and legislators on equality issues.  She was formerly a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission (2002-2012) and currently serves on the Irish Parliamentary delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).  She took a leading role in the pioneering Irish Senate hearings on the rights of older people which published a landmark report in March 2012 (‘Report on the Rights of Older People’).  The Irish Senate was one of the first parliamentary bodies in the world to consider the human rights of older people.  Her previous work with the Joint Equality and Human Rights Forum of Ireland (North & South) on multiple identities established her as one of Ireland’s foremost thinkers on the overlaps between identities such as disability and age (‘Re-Thinking Diversity: the Challenge of Diversity’, 2003).

The Centre for Disability Law & Policy (CDLP) at NUI Galway, Ireland, was founded by generous support from Irish philanthropy (Atlantic Philanthropies) in 2008 to develop innovative policy solutions based on best international practice on the rights of persons with disabilities.  Its members were directly involved in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities and are very closely involved in European-level debates about the development of effective pan-European strategies.

The CDLP is a founding member of the Lifecourse Policy Institute at NUI Galway which encompasses age (Irish Centre for Social Gerontology), children and families (UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre) as well as disability (CDLP).  The Institute aims to develop coherent policy options from an integrated lifecourse policy perspective.  This event was in part a result of active collaboration and consultation between the CDLP and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology – one of the many tangible benefits of moving to an integrated policy perspective on ageing and disability.

The European Foundation Centre was established in 1989 and is an international membership association of foundations and corporate funders. From an initial group of 7 founding members it has now reached 231. Its mission is to strengthen the independent funding element of European philanthropy through robust cooperation with an array of partners. It has a vision of a resilient infrastructure from which European philanthropy – with its unique embrace of innovation, dynamism and cooperation – can advance the public good in Europe and beyond. It has a Disability Thematic Network (DTN) which aims to promote synergies between funders and serve as a hub for knowledge exchange amongst EFC members working on disability issues. The objectives of the DTN is to:

• Share and build knowledge on funding in the field of disability,
• Build capacity of foundations working on disability,
• Mainstream disability within Foundations’ work and programmes,
• Provide strategic input to the European Disability policy agenda,
• Be an innovation incubator for Foundations developing pilot projects that can be scaled up or replicated.

As a product of the Disability Thematic Network, the European Consortium of Foundations on Human Rights and Disability aims to bring together funders  and other stakeholders committed to promoting the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Consortium’s overall aim is to breathe life and vigour into the application of the Convention, to make a distinctive contribution and to mobilise the foundation sector to play a catalytic role to ensure that European governments and other relevant stakeholders commit to and support both ratification and implementation of the Convention.  Both Miguel Ángel Cabra de Luna and Hywel Ceri Jones are co-chairs of the Consortium.