Citizens of Bonn with disabilities should be fully included in city life in every circumstance, just like everyone else: That is the goal of the Federal City of Bonn. To this end, it has developed the "Disability Policy Participation Plan for the Federal City of Bonn" - participatory and inclusive.
More than a fifth of the people in Bonn are obstructed in their participation rights because structural conditions often stand in the way of their special needs. Bonn wants to break down these barriers and has therefore based its "Bonn Inclusive" disability policy participation plan on the principles of participation and self-determination. In 2009, half a year after the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force in Germany, Bonn began to develop its new vision for inclusive city life in a committed process, with the decisive participation of self-help organisations, welfare associations, local politics, administration and citizenship, and has since then continued its dynamic model.
The plan and mission statement are intended to help anchor inclusion everywhere in the city's activities. The plan establishes equal opportunities for people with disabilities as a cross-sectional task in all areas of municipal administration. Jointly developed recommendations for action should lead to substantial improvements in participation and self-determination. In order to ensure this, people with disabilities and their interest groups were integrated into the process in a leading role.
A joint steering group was set up, consisting of delegates from all council factions on the one hand and representatives of organisations of and for people with disabilities on the other. This body identified seven thematic areas and set up working groups for them. It decided on the incorporation of recommendations for action and on how the exchange with the citizenship should be arranged. The office, which belongs to the "Special Care Measures" department of the Office for Social Affairs and Housing of the Federal City of Bonn, provided organisational support here. 120 participants were continuously involved.
The joint exchange and learning process, the clever bundling of competences and the constructive cooperation of all the forces involved finally led to a courageous vision as well as to concrete guidelines and recommendations in order to make Bonn a truly inclusive city. This includes reviewing all Bonn statutes, guidelines and directives to ensure that they are consistent with the UN Convention on Human Rights.
Fields of action for concrete changes and improvements were identified and named. An inventory of life circumstances and needs could be reconciled with existing offers and help structures, a reliable foundation for the development of new inclusive offers of the city.
With its Disability Policy Participation Plan, the Federal City of Bonn has set out to make its municipal contribution to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The participatory process and the concrete results have encouraged and demanded a rethinking in the city. This has triggered a long-term transformation process towards more inclusion in the entire urban society; the greatest barriers on the way to an inclusive society are, as is well known, to be found in people's minds. Bonn has shown a way in which the vision of inclusion can take root and flourish in a city through greater awareness in local government, administration and civil society, in the sense of the United Nations' Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
Text: Sabine Hammer
Amt für Soziales und Wohnen