A Look at the Global Disability Summit...

A Look at the Global Disability Summit 2022 (French version available)

by Sarah Leung
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What is the Global Disability Summit?

The Global Disability Summit (GDS) is a meeting of disability advocates, organizations, and governments to discuss future goals which further inclusion of disabled persons around the world. It was created in 2017 from the combined efforts between the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and multiple governments.

The first Global Disability Summit was held from July 23rd to July 24th, 2018, in London, England, where it was hosted by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Kenya, and the International Disability Alliance (IDA). At that time, 171 governments and organizations participated and made 968 individual commitments towards the themes of The Global Disability Summit 2018:

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

It also included two cross-cutting themes – topics that are considered alongside main themes, but sometimes overlap, without losing focus on the main themes:

  1. Women and girls with disabilities
  2. Conflict and humanitarian contexts

What Does the Global Disability Summit Want to Achieve?

The Global Disability Summit has four main objectives:

  1. Raise global attention and focus on neglected areas and inclusive sustainable development
  2. Mobilize targeted and concrete commitments on disability inclusion and inclusive development
  3. Showcase best practices and evidence from across the world on disability inclusive development, and progress made from the Global Disability Summit in 2018
  4. Strengthen the capacity of organizations of persons with disabilities in the Global South and their engagement with governments

The Global South has at least three main definitions. It can be assumed that the Global Disability Summit, as a meeting of multiple organizations, uses the term to describe countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America, and the Caribbean that are low or middle income.

What is the Global Disability Summit 2022?

This year, the Global Disability Summit was held in Oslo, Norway albeit with most events planned virtually. It was held from February 14th to 17th, co-hosted by the International Disability Alliance (IDA), the Government of Norway, and the Government of Ghana. The main event, the Global Disability Summit top level meeting, was held on February 16th and 17th.

It was preceded by the Global Disability Youth Summit on February 14th, and the Global Disability Summit Civil Society Forum on February 15th.

The Global Youth Summit 2022

The Global Disability Youth Summit, a meeting of youth and their organizations over the world, was featured on the first day of the event. It was co-hosted by the International Disability Alliance (IDA), and the Atlas Alliance, represented by Youth Mental Health Norway.

Its purpose was to highlight the voices of disabled youth and create commitments to support them in the future. This was the first time that youth were appointed to create their own summit, for the interests of disabled youth around the world.

Civil Society Forum 2022

Hosted by The Civil Society Reference Group, The Civil Society Forum was featured on the second day of the event. It served as an opportunity both to discuss issues relevant to the disability movement around the world, and to strive towards the items listed in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

This forum helped form a general briefing that influenced the more in-depth conversation which was addressed at the Summit’s top-level meeting on February 17th.

The Core Goals of GDS 2022

The Global Disability Summit 2022 focused on some of the core goals of the summit as an event, some of the themes from the previous summit, as well as some new ones:

  1. Inclusion in education
  2. Strengthening the capacity of organizations of persons with disabilities in the Global South and their engagement with governments
  3. Inclusive health
  4. Inclusive employment and livelihoods
  5. Inclusion in situations of crises and conflict, including a focus on climate change

Alongside these main themes, gender was a cross-cutting theme.



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Alonzi, Alta. “What Are Cross-Cutting Themes?” ProposalforNGOs, 12 Feb. 2018, https://proposalsforngos.com/what-are-cross-cutting-themes/. Accessed 5 Feb. 2022.

“Civil Society Forum – GDS18.” Global Disability Summit, https://www.globaldisabilitysummit.org/pages/gds18-civil-society-forum. Accessed 5 Feb. 2022.

“Civil Society Forum 2022.” Global Disability Summit, https://www.globaldisabilitysummit.org/pages/civil-society-forums. Accessed 5 Feb. 2022.

Clarke, Marlea. “Global South: What Does It Mean and Why Use the Term?” Global South Political Commentaries, University of Victoria, 8 Aug. 2018, https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/globalsouthpolitics/2018/08/08/global-south-what-does-it-mean-and-why-use-the-term/. Accessed 5 Feb. 2022.

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“Global Disability Summit 2022.” The Atlas Alliance, https://atlas-alliansen.no//en/global-disability-summit-2022. Accessed 5 Feb. 2022.“Global Disability Youth Summit 2022.” Global Disability Summit, https://www.globaldisabilitysummit.org/pages/youth-summit. Accessed 5 Feb. 2022.

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