While the world showed impressive commitments towards disability inclusive international cooperation during the first Global Disability Summit (GDS) in 2018, the pandemic exposed the stark reality that the lives and rights of people with disabilities are deprioritized. Now is the time for the international development community to commit to commit to real change at the second Global Disability Summit, 16-17 February, 2022!
With less than eight years to go before we reach the target year for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, GDS22 will promote actions to increase inclusiveness and equality in line with the principle of leaving no one behind and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The International Disability Alliance (IDA) expects the Summit to lead to concrete political commitments that will bring about genuine change for persons with disabilities, and will help to reduce inequalities and foster inclusive development, and humanitarian action, guided by a human-rights approach.
The vision for the GDS is ‘Promoting Equality’, including fighting against stigmatisation and discrimination. The first overarching theme of the Summit is Meaningful engagement of persons with disabilities through their representative organisations, as this is key to fulfilling of the rights of persons with disabilities. Furthermore, as societies and countries recover from COVID-19 and prepare for the next crisis, such as a climate-related crisis or a new pandemic, they must put in place systems that will ensure inclusion rather than exclusion of persons with disabilities. This will be the topic of the second overarching theme for the Summit Building back better and more inclusive after COVID-19. Subthemes on the agenda include gender equality and intersectionality, youth with disabilities, inclusive education, livelihoods, social protection, inclusive health and inclusion in situations of conflict and crisis, including from climate change.
Read below which 9 commitments the Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development (DCDD) is making, to build back a world that works better for everyone:
1. Support partnerships between the disability rights movement and other social movements
DCDD was founded in 2000 to combine the forces of development organisations and individuals advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the international development sector. As a network we lobby for implementation of article 32 of the CRPD and the SDGs (leave no one behind) by Dutch donors, promote cross-organisation learning to show how inclusion works, and address intersectional identities and priorities (e.g. women and youth with disabilities). DCDD promotes linkages between mainstream Dutch development actors and those organisations and individuals who represent people with disabilities, so that fruitful and inclusive collaborations emerge. For example, in 2022 three learning sessions on disability inclusive programming will be organised in collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their civil society implementing partners.
DCDD is also part of the We Are Able! programme, which itself is a strategic partnership between OPDs (African Disability Forum and Ieder(in)), disability organisations (SeeYou Foundation, The Leprosy Mission, DCDD), mainstream
organisations (ZOA, Association of Dutch Municipalities and The Hague Academy) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A key aim of We Are Able! is to promote coalition building in programme countries among OPDs, (local) government authorities and mainstream organisations to ensure access to basic resources and food security for all. Inclusive food systems are promoted through cross-organisation learning and various advocacy strategies.
Finally, Liliane Foundation (core member of DCDD) is engaged in another Strategic Partnership, called Make Way, with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and various feminist organisations. This programme focuses on Building capacities in Advocacy for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Youth with compounded vulnerabilities in five African countries and at continental and global level. Within this five-years programme Liliane Foundation and its partners will work on disability inclusion through an intersectional approach.
2. Increase funding to support priorities of Organisations of People with Disabilities (OPDs)
DCDD advocates for the budgets of Dutch donor agencies (including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to provide better access to funding and resources for OPDs, so that their organisational foundation is strengthened and they are enabled to raise their collective voice with independence, autonomy and adequate capacity. Members of DCDD are also actively mobilising resources within Dutch society and with institutional donors through fundraising efforts to the benefit of their OPD partners in the Global South.
3. Mainstream OPD engagement across funding
DCDD advocates towards Dutch donors to ensure that funding does not discriminate against persons with disabilities and that it actively contributes to advancing their human rights, both in development cooperation and humanitarian action. A key element of our lobby message is to set as a condition for funding that projects entail clearly resourced OPD participation. Ensuring budgetary provisions for involvement of OPDs with regards to consultation and meaningful participation in projects, including budgets available for accessibility, appropriate communication and reasonable accommodation.
4. Ensure a conducive policy environment
DCDD’s lobby and advocacy is aimed at bringing the Dutch international policies on development cooperation, humanitarian aid, human rights and trade in line with CRPD article 32 and the ‘leave no one behind’ principle of the SDGs – and at acknowledging OPDs as human rights advocates and civil society representatives whose voice is indispensable for achieving inclusive and sustainable development goals. The thematic focus areas of our advocacy include inclusive education, employment, food security, humanitarian action, community based inclusive development, sexual and reproductive health, and data disaggregation – with gender as a cross-cutting theme.
5. Support awareness-raising to combat attitudinal barriers, either OPD-led or with the active involvement of OPDs.
DCDD is developing an awareness campaign, in collaboration with an international media platform, to portray persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with the CRPD, to call on Dutch donors to include persons with disabilities as change agents within their programmes, and to remove barriers to participation. In general, DCDD and
its members, actively promote the use of appropriate and destigmatising language with regards to inclusion of people with disabilities.
6. Increase sustainable long-term funding for inclusive education
DCDD advocates for investment in inclusive education by Dutch donors. For example, a motion passed in Parliament that requests the Dutch government to set measurable goals in 2022 for inclusion of children and youth in the international education (and employment) programmes they are funding, and to report annually on the extent to which children and youth with disabilities are being reached through these programmes. In addition, DCDD provided tools for development organisations on how to mainstream disability in their education programmes, and many of our members directly support inclusive education programmes in the Global South.
7. Provide support to promote the employment of persons with disabilities in the public and private sectors
DCDD advocates for investment in inclusive employment by Dutch donors. For example, a motion passed in Parliament that requests the Dutch government to set measurable goals in 2022 for inclusion of youth in the international (education and) employment programmes they are funding, and to report annually on the extent to which youth with disabilities are being reached through these programmes. DCDD provides expertise and experiences from its network on how to achieve inclusive employment, and many of our members directly support inclusive employments programmes in the Global South.
8. Address multiple and intersecting discrimination in the health sector
DCDD advocates for investments in inclusive health by Dutch donors, especially in the areas of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) and the Covid19 response. For example, when the Covid-pandemic started, DCDD provided an overview of practical tools which addressed barriers people with disabilities were facing (such as sign language videos and easy-read brochures). In collaboration with Liliane Foundation and Into Inclusion, we are currently working on a Quick Guide on inclusive SRHR, which will provide mainstream SRHR organisations with practical tools to remove barriers which especially women and girls with disabilities face in their access to such services. In addition, DCDD members directly support programmes in the Global South for inclusive SRHR, and other underserved areas of the health system, such as eye health, leprosy relief, rehabilitation services, speech therapy, early childhood intervention, etc.
9. Strengthen capacity on a rights-based approach to disability inclusive humanitarian action including in situations of armed conflict
DCDD continues to advocate for disability inclusive humanitarian action. Since the Dutch government committed to the implementation of the IASC Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in their international contributions to humanitarian action, DCDD has made efforts to ensure and support the implementation of these guidelines by Dutch humanitarian agencies. For example, we have developed a Quick Guide with an overview of practical tools for rights-based disability inclusion. We will further improve the accessibility of this quick guide this year and continue to update it with new tools. In addition, DCDD raises awareness on the need for disability inclusive climate action, by participating in Climate Marches and calling for meaningful participation of OPDs in climate action planning and response.