Governments called to act one year on from landmark disability summit

On the one-year anniversary of the Global Disability Summit, campaigners are calling on governments to follow through on commitments they made on disability rights.

February 16 marks the one-year anniversary of the second ever Global Disability Summit (GDS), which was virtual and hosted by the governments of Norway and Ghana, and the permanent co-host, the International Disability Alliance (IDA). There were more than 7,000 participants at the event in 2022, and 1,420 new commitments about disability rights submitted by 190 governments and other stakeholders.

To mark the date, Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign and IDA are calling on these governments, decision makers and stakeholders to report back on the progress they have made on their commitments so far. They will be able to report back by accessing the online platform iData, a commitments tracking system hosted by the GDS secretariat.

Disability inclusion remains a neglected area of global development, with new data analysis from Sightsavers showing that only 6.4% of official development assistance is disability inclusive*.

Sightsavers’ deputy CEO, Dominic Haslam, said, “The Global Disability Summit has been a huge opportunity for governments to address inequality. It was great to see them attend and make commitments on how they will address disability-inclusion. But now is the time for action. 

“It is vital that governments continue to honour these commitments and make their actions speak louder than their words. Our Equal World campaign urgently calls on all GDS governments and stakeholders to uphold disability rights and make their summit commitments a reality”.

Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director of IDA, added: “One year on from the 2022 Global Disability Summit, the world faces huge challenges and millions of people with disabilities are treated unequally. In such a sphere, the GDS can be the carrier of good news: it can inspire governments to take action through commitments, and can rally people behind an area in which involvement can bring positive and concrete results. 

Through the Global Disability Summit, we want to call on governments, multilateral agencies, the private sector and INGOs to report back on their commitments. Words are not enough, actions speak louder.”

The Global Disability Summit is the world’s biggest gathering of people with disabilities, governments, and global leaders and an opportunity to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The next summit will be held in 2025 and co-hosted by the International Disability Alliance, and the governments of Germany and Jordan.