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Sightsavers campaign sends message to world leaders at UN summit

September 2023

Sightsavers’ Promise in Peril campaign culminated at the United Nation’s global summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a declaration confirming commitments to achieving the global goals.

United Nations (UN) member states attended the summit in New York on 18-19 September to assess progress and accelerate work to achieve the SDGs. The outcome was the adoption of a political declaration, which explicitly references disability rights. The declaration follows 100 days of campaigning across more than 20 countries, which called on world leaders to keep the SDG promise to leave no one behind, including people with disabilities.

Ahead of the summit, world leaders and UN missions received a Promise in Peril petition, which is part of Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign, calling on them to ensure that disability is specifically addressed in SDG commitments. It was signed by 48,063 people from 121 countries, with Sightsavers’ country office teams and representative disability organisation partners arranging hand-in events with national ministers.

Equal World global ambassador Abia Akram represented the Promise in Peril campaign at the summit where she took part in the dialogue session with the UN Secretary-General. She also directly handed the petition to the UK’s international development minister, Andrew Mitchell, who reaffirmed the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s commitment to disability inclusion.

Abia Akram said: “We’re really pleased that the political declaration of the SDG Summit has been adopted, as it contains explicit references to disability rights. To achieve an equal world, all action towards the SDGs must be inclusive of those who have been marginalised and excluded, including people with disabilities. Nothing about us, without us.”

At the halfway point of the 2030 deadline, progress on the SDGs has derailed and people with disabilities are being hit hardest. The Promise in Peril campaign follows a UN report which shows that the SDGs cannot be achieved unless urgent action is taken to include marginalised groups, including people with disabilities.

Join the Equal World campaign and find out more about Promise in Peril.

in Bangladesh, two women stand with their arms round each other outside their home.

What are the SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for everyone by 2030.

Learn about the goals

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