#NowIsTheTime: Your guide to the Global Disability Summit

On 24 July 2018, the UK Department for International Development (UK DFID), along with co-hosts the International Disability Alliance and the Government of Kenya will host the first-ever Global Disability Summit in London. The Summit represents an opportunity to celebrate progress, share learnings, spread awareness of critical areas of need, and mobilise global action.

The Summit programme centres on four themes:

1. Tackling stigma and discrimination
2. Inclusion in education
3. Routes to economic empowerment
4. Harnessing technology and innovation 

In line with DFID’s vision for disability inclusion, two cross-cutting themes address gender and humanitarian assistance.

Alongside co-host International Disability Alliance (IDA), representing disabled persons’ organisations (DPOs), a number of organisations and civil society partners are playing a key role in the design and delivery of the Summit. The IDA will facilitate a Civil Society Reference Group, comprising key disability inclusion groups such as Bond Disability and Development Group, International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), Disability Rights Fund, Disability Rights UK, and representatives of the UK Disability Movement.

The Summit’s objectives include raising global awareness around a critical but too oft-neglected field, broadening engagement by focusing attention on new voices and approaches, encouraging commitments to tackling disability-related issues, and showcasing best practice from across the world. The role of representative DPOs and civil society is crucial to achieving these goals, ensuring the accountability of national and international actors to the commitments made.

“The Global Disability Summit is all about getting global leaders to commit to actions that they will take to improve the lives of persons with disabilities around the world.”

“We gather here in London and across the world to achieve a common aim: to ensure the rights, freedoms, dignity and inclusion for all persons with disabilities.”

To highlight issues that may not be formally addressed at the summit, and to encourage more in-depth discussion of key themes, the IDA will be facilitating a Civil Society Forum on the 23rd of July.

British Council, DfID, International Disability Alliance and Include Me Too (UK youth DPO) are collaborating to ensure young disabled people are represented at the Global Civil Society Forum and Global Disability Summit. British Council is bringing a group of young disabled leaders to the Summit (from Pakistan, Philippines and Ukraine).

Ukraine will be represented by Alexandra Kutas, the first fashion model with a disability in Ukraine, a public figure, and who was an adviser to the mayor of Dnipro on the accessibility of urban infrastructure. Also known as the first model from abroad with a disability active in India, Alexandra has worked to support disability awareness in Ukraine and abroad, as a public speaker, social project developer, and international humanitarian. Most recently she has worked with One Philosophy Group on issues related to disability and employment in Ukraine, there Kutas became the author of the idea and the presenter of video blog HAS TO BE SO. It is a series of video clips in blog format that allows the audience to get acquainted with opportunities for people with disabilities in progressive, inclusive companies in Kyiv that above all, appreciate the professionalism of their employees. Ensuring equality of rights in the workplace is valuable for them.  Also during the last year Alexandra was recognized by both the Kyiv Post as part of the 30 Under 30, and the Chou Ta-Kuan Foundation of Taiwan. 

The Summit is designed chiefly to generate action in all developing countries. However, commitments will be made by all participating groups, including governments, donors, NGOs, technology companies, foundations, the private sector, and civil society. In keeping with the overarching principle of inclusivity, public engagement is strongly encouraged, and there are a number of ways to get involved:

- Follow @DFID_UK and @IDA_CRPD_Forum on Twitter

- Join the #GSD2018 conversation using #DisabilitySummit and #NowIsTheTime

- Download the Summit programme (PDF)

- Be a part of the #IncludeMeToo video campaign  

- Complete the Young Persons with Disabilities Survey

- Read the Global Disability Summit Charter for Change (PDF) 

- The summit will be broadcast live over the two days at: https://bit.ly/2L4QN9r

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