Hosted by the International Disability Alliance, the Government of Norway and the Government of Ghana, it will bring together organisations of people with disabilities, governments and global organisations.
Ahead of the 2022 summit, our country office teams in Pakistan and Kenya spoke to the organisations of people with disabilities they work with about their hopes for the event, challenges they face, and the progress made since the 2018 summit.
In Pakistan, we asked Asim, from the Saaya Foundation and Community Based Inclusive Development Network, what action needs to be taken by decision-makers attending the Global Disability Summit (GDS).
What are the main challenges your organisations of people with disabilities (OPD) members are currently facing?
The main challenges are lack of assistive devices, accessible transport and accessibility in all government and private institutions. Moreover, our disability laws are not yet fully implemented.
Would commitments made at the Global Disability Summit help to address these challenges?
The government of Pakistan will be accountable for ensuring the inclusion of people with disabilities and implementation of the laws at all levels after making commitments at the Global Disability Summit.
We hope that the government will make infrastructure accessible as a priority, and will make more inclusive development programmes after considering the needs of people with disabilities.
Has there been progress towards government commitments made at the first Global Disability Summit in 2018?
The government has passed disability bills at provincial and national levels – we had meetings with government representatives to speed up the process.
The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) disability bill was approved in 2020 and a special committee that includes people with disabilities was created to ensure the law is implemented.
Also, for the first time, the Washington Group Short Set of questions was included in the Pakistan Social and Living Standard Measurement (PSLM) survey, to count the number of people with disabilities in a sample. This has paved the way for an inclusive census in 2022, and the government has made a commitment to include disability-related questions in the data collection tools.
Another development is that Pakistan’s parliament house became the first-ever disability-friendly parliament house in the country’s history, establishing a model for all public and private sector institutions to accommodate accessibility.
These steps show commitment from the government of Pakistan towards the inclusion of people with disabilities. This is why we’ve been looking for further action from the government, including participating in the Global Disability Summit.
What kind of follow-up process is needed to ensure governments meet their commitments at the 2022 summit?
A follow-up report should be shared by the government of Pakistan. Shadow reports by the OPD networks can be developed and shared with all stakeholders so that we can ask the government for implementation.
What message would you give to the decision-makers and organisations attending the summit?
Ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities at all levels and consult people with disabilities before making any plans.