Disability expert Giampiero Griffo nominated to Italian COVID-19 government Taskforce

14 April 2020

Article written by Luisa Bosiso Fazzi and edited by EDF secretariat. 


The Italian presidency of the Council of Ministers  set up a task force of experts in economic and social matters to plan Phase 2 of the fight against the CODIV19 pandemic. Giampiero Griffo, a board member of the European Disability Forum, was appointed to the taskforce as an expert and coordinator of the Technical-Scientific Committee of the Observatory on the Condition of Persons with Disabilities.  

The task force does not have a fixed end date and is composed of experts from various fields and disciplines. It is a lean structure and will have to work on the main issues regarding adapting the return to public lifewith until there is a vaccine and a cure.

The task force is meant to "elaborate and propose to the Prime Minister measures necessary to deal with the COVID-19 epidemiological emergency, as well as for the gradual recovery in the various sectors of social, economic and productive activities, also through the identification of new organizational and relational models, which take into account the needs of containment and emergency prevention". The committee works in coordination with the scientific technical committee that was set up on 3 February. 

The decision to nominate a disability expert, a person with disabilities, is a step towards mainstreaming of disability in all policies, an action that the Italian Government was already taking with the establishment of the Office for Policies in favour of Persons with Disabilities within the Presidency of the Council of Ministers .

Accepting the task Giampiero Griffo said that he will not only propose interventions on social protection and welfare policies, but above all will promote the mainstreaming of disability in all areas of discussion using understandable and effective languages to remove prejudices, social stigma, readings based exclusively on the medical model of disability, far from the respect for human rights that the CRPD imposes”. The challenge is therefore not only technical but cultural.

These weeks have made it clear that in Italy persons with disabilities are still invisible citizens, discriminated against and unable to access general public policy interventions with equal opportunities even, and above all, in emergency situations.

The issues that Griffo will have to face urgently in this first phase concern various areas of activity related to the reopening of services and the development of models of intervention that will allow in the future to improve policies and interventions and prevent the phenomena that in the covid-19 pandemic strongly penalized persons with disabilities such as access to health, the social protection system, inclusive education and employment; the measures of the stet of emergency and statistic.

Other areas of activity will be also be examined in the further work of the Task Force.


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