Persons with disabilities continue to face barriers in their participation as equal members of society and violations of their human rights in all parts of the world.

Consulting people with disabilities worldwide

To see the evidence base grow and ensure that the focus is where people with disabilities have the greatest needs, IDA, its members, local, and regional partners, organised and coordinated one regional and 27 national GDS consultations. These consultations took place in 26 countries in Africa, Asia, Latina America, Middle East, North Africa, and the Pacific.

The consultations, which took place between October 2020 and April 2021, brought together more than 840 people.

  • 56% were women,
  • 23% were indigenous, and
  • 38% were from the most underrepresented groups of persons with disabilities.

The consultations were facilitated in nine national spoken languages and 14 national sign languages.

Themes to ensure that no one is left behind

In 2018, the first Global Disability Summit was held in the United Kingdom. It brought out one hundred and 171 national governments, multilateral agencies, donors, foundations, private sector, and civil society organisations. They went on to make 968 individual commitments anchored on seven central themes:

  • Eliminate stigma and discrimination         
  • Inclusive education   
  • Routes to economic empowerment
  • Harnessing technology and innovation      
  • Data disaggregation 
  • Women and girls with disabilities  
  • Conflict and humanitarian contexts

The last three years have been a litmus test. Positive strides have been made towards the implementation of the GDS18 Commitments. The uniqueness of these consultations was that it gave IDA, its members and its partners the ability to assess the implementation of the GDS 2018 Commitments. Persons with disabilities and their representative organisations evaluated the implementation process, identifying the milestones that had been achieved in the realisation of the Commitments and the areas that needed more collaboration and investments to ensure accelerated and full implementation.

Beyond the central themes, the consultations also identified emerging trends and areas of attention that can inform the Global Disability Summit 2022, which will take place in February. These included:

  • Living independently and being included in the community
  • Health
  • International cooperation and disability-inclusive development
  • Accountability mechanisms

The future

Though the Consultations revealed that there is still a gap in the implementation of the commitments, the GDS Secretariat, IDA, its members, and global, regional and national partners are working to incorporate GDS Consultations around the world to be able to continue learning.

In the coming months, various online and face-to-face consultations will ensure that persons with disabilities and representative organisations have a platform to express their views and shape the planning and implementation towards GDS22.

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