- February 6, 2018

The Global Action on Disability (GLAD) Network met from 31 January to 2 February in Helsinki, Finland. The meeting was jointly organised by GLAD co-chairs, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA), and was hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Abilis Foundation. The meeting was opened by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) Chair, Colin Allen, who noted that “The GLAD Network is a unique Network and is positioned with very very significant potential to influence the disability inclusive development and secure the implementation of the CRPD and the SDGs for persons with disabilities. GLAD represents one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful mechanism in the disability community”.

The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development of Finland, Kai Mykkänen, and the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells also provided remarks. The overall aim of the meeting was to further develop a firm, coherent and practical commitment to disability-inclusive development and humanitarian action in line with CRPD, through meaningful engagement with Organisations of Persons with Disability (DPOs), and capitalizing on the collective voice, role and resources of GLAD Network members. A session on ‘Scanning the Horizon: Sharing Perspectives, Knowledge and Practice’, set to share and promote commitment to applying good practice in meaningfully engaging with people with disabilities and disabled people’s organisations as participants in and beneficiaries of inclusive development and humanitarian action. Nelly Caleb, IDA Board Member from the Pacific Disability Forum (Vanuatu), discussed experiences of DPOs working with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Aligning with the goals of the Network, the Network agreed that their success will be in sharing knowledge and joint advocacy through consistent messages on disability-inclusive development and humanitarian action. 

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