- July 24, 2018

On 24 July 2018, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), along with the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the Government of Kenya, hosted the first Global Disability Summit in London.

In line with the principle of ‘nothing about us, without us’, DFID co-hosted the Summit with the International Disability Alliance (IDA), to ensure that people with disabilities were central to the planning and delivery of the summit.

In consultation with civil society partners, IDA called for the Civil Society Forum on 23 July, as an addition to the Summit to leverage the opportunity to amplify the voice and participation of persons with disabilities, through their individual participation and that of representative organizations (DPOs). Civil Society Forum kicked off the debate with questions about chronically underfunded local and regional organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs), the need to include these DPOs in policy discussions; and the special challenge of reaching people with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian response. The joint civil society statement was read out by the IDA Chair at the opening session of the Summit on 24 July and accentuated a pivotal role the civil society played around the Global Disability Summit.

The Summit was attended by Ministers, representatives of organisations of persons with disabilities, academia, non-governmental organisations, representatives of the UN System, and among others.  During the two days, there was a range of spotlight sessions exploring issues around the rights of persons with disabilities. The Summit provided a platform to showcase good practice, new policy and assistive technology for persons with disabilities, as well as to generate sustainable commitments from country governments, donors, civil society, foundations and the private sector

DFID and IDA, for instance, have already kicked off commitments with several new initiatives such as the creation of an online platform, where summit commitments will be recorded and tracked over the coming months and years.

In the culmination of the event, all attendees were also invited to sign the Charter for Change—the principal legacy document of the Global Disability Summit. The Charter for Change aims at ensuring global consensus to address a long-neglected issue pertaining rights of persons with disabilities such as inclusion to education, employment, independent living, voting, access to justice, among others. 

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