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Sightsavers welcomes disability summit commitments

July 2018
Penny Mordaunt gives a sign language speech onstage as a roomful of people look on.

Sightsavers has welcomed commitments announced at yesterday’s Global Disability Summit by leaders and multilateral organisations to promote better inclusion of people with disabilities in global development work.

The summit, hosted by the UK government with the government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance, saw more than 300 signatories to its Charter for Change. The charter lists 10 steps to achieving the aim of ensuring “rights, freedoms, dignity and inclusion for all persons with disabilities.”

In total, more than 170 specific commitments to disability-inclusive development were made by governments, multilateral institutions and private sector organisations. If the charter’s requirements – and the other commitments made at the summit – are met, the lives of people with disabilities worldwide could be immeasurably improved.

Sightsavers CEO Caroline Harper said: “We’re thrilled with the commitments made at the Global Disability Summit. It’s fantastic to see the global development community coming together to recognise the importance of leaving no one behind in efforts to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals and improve the lives of people in the world’s poorest countries.”

Tessa Murphy, manager of Sightsavers’ Put Us in the Picture campaign, said: “The summit was a significant moment for Put Us in the Picture – for nearly five years we’ve been calling on the UK government to prioritise the rights of people with disabilities and the summit shows how seriously DFID takes this need. With the summit over, and a host of potential life-changing commitments made, the work now begins to ensure that pledges go from words to action. Today, we are one large step closer to making a disability-inclusive world a reality.”

 

Highlights from the summit pledges

 

  • Commitments to prioritise the needs of people with disabilities were made by governments including Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and India, and the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) committed to updating and publishing its disability framework by the end of 2018.
  • The World Bank made a number of commitments, but the most important of these was to embed inclusion throughout its operations, through its Disability Inclusion Accountability Framework.
  • The World Bank also committed to disaggregating data by disability using the Washington Group Questions (which ask about the level of difficulty people experience day-to-day rather than asking them if they consider themselves to have a disability).
  • UN Women launched a disability strategy that aims to put women and girls with disabilities at the heart of its work.
  • The United Nations system (through the UN Development Programme, representatives of which attended the summit) shared its system-wide action plan on disability to make inclusion a core part of the UN system. It also announced its intention to publish a disability accountability framework in 2019.

 

A group of visually impaired girls wearing Sightsavers tracksuits, laughing.

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