Penny Mordaunt closing speech at the Global Disability Summit

Raising the global ambition and attention and focus on an area that has been neglected for far too long.

Picture: Michael Hughes/DFID

Thank you.

On behalf of the UK Government and our co-hosts, the Government of Kenya and International Disability Alliance, I want to say a huge thank you to each and every one for your enthusiastic and committed participation today.

And on a personal note I want to thank all of the moderators we have had today and also my fantastic team at DFID, led by Gerard Howe and his amazing team and my fantastic Ministerial team – Alistair Burt, Harriett Baldwin and Lord Bates who has done a lot of the work for this conference.

We have witnessed some incredible and inspirational moments today.

We have heard President Moreno’s uplifting call to action. We were inspired by Maisie’s moving journey in the silent child and, most importantly, we were challenged by the many activists and disabled people’s organisations from across the world who have attended this summit.

We have listened to new people and new organisations and new ideas.

We have seen a broadening of the circle across civil society, governments and individuals. And we have worked together to embrace and deliver on our common goal to leave no one behind, bringing disability front and centre of International Development.

When people with disabilities are included, great things happen.

And we have heard today about some of the exciting and ambitious projects and partnerships on disability inclusion that are under way.

Great Partnerships like the one with our co-hosts, the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance – they are crucial if we want to transform the lives of people with disabilities

That’s why we have announced the new UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership between the our governments and Kenyan businesses, to economically empower people with disabilities in Kenya.

It will establish a dynamic partnership model which demonstrates private sector leadership as a driving force behind inclusive economic growth.

Over the longer term I hope that this partnership model will be replicated and used to stimulate inclusive economic growth more broadly.

I am also delighted that the UK will be co-chairing a partnership for donors and partners – the Global Action for Disability Network – with the International Disability Alliance and the Government of Australia.

We have also seen the launch of new global partnerships for disability inclusion – such as AT Scale - a global partnership for assistive technology with an ambitious aim to reach half a billion more people globally with essential assistive technology by 2030.

And the launch of the Inclusive Education Initiative - a new UK-led multi-donor partnership to support developing countries realise the promise of truly inclusive schools, teaching and learning. It will support countries to collect data, integrate disability into education plans, and build capacity to rollout reforms and train teachers.

We know that such data collection is invaluable when it comes to disability inclusion.

Recognising the critical importance of data, today we have launched a new Global Data Portal with Leonard Cheshire that brings together existing disability data for the first time on 16 key development indicators from 40 low and middle-income countries around the world.

This will help us identify gaps between men and women with disabilities and those without disabilities and support stronger planning, resource allocation and accountability.

DFID has also signed up to the Inclusive Data Charter to support the quality, quantity, financing and availability of inclusive and disaggregated data. This will help us deliver on our promise to ‘Leave No One Behind’.

Focusing on the Private Sector, the CDC - the UK’s own development finance institution - will change the way they work, so that disability inclusion is at the heart to the companies they fund.

Throughout our sessions today, I am delighted that we have consistently recognised the importance of both gender equality and youth participation for disability inclusion.

As Minister for Women and Equalities as well, I am particularly conscious of the double discrimination faced by women and girls with disabilities - marginalised for their gender as well as disability. That’s why DFID is committed to amplifying the voices of women and girls with disabilities.

Through the Girls Education Challenge Programme (GEC), UK Aid has supported over 46,000 girls with disabilities to access education. Through the programme’s new Leave No One Behind strand we will back another 15 projects and support 10,000 girls with disabilities.

We are also providing additional funding to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls with disabilities.

With regards to youth, DFID has extended the International Citizen Service (ICS) youth volunteering programme until December 2019 and doubled the number of applications we want to achieve from people with disabilities.

I am also pleased today to set out DFID’s position on children and young people in institutions.

The UK government recognises that institutionalisation harms children’s physical, emotional and psychological development, and that children with disabilities are often the first to be placed in institutional care, the last to leave institutional care, and often end up being forgotten by society.

The UK government will continue to work towards the long term process of de-institutionalisation. The UK is supportive of inclusive community services for all children and the promotion of family and community-based care.

We see the long-term solution to this issue to be tackling systemic problems at a national level so that the systems, services and policies are in place to create a protective environment for children.

Actively involving people with disabilities in decision-making doesn’t just empower individuals – it leads to better decisions and more effective outcomes.

Today we have all come together and demonstrated our leadership on disability by making new, ambitious and far-reaching commitments critical to achieving real change for persons with disabilities.

Here are the numbers:

  • Over 300 governments, organisations for people with disabilities, international agencies and companies from the private sector have now signed the charter for change, openly committing to working together and stepping up our ambition for disability inclusion.
  • We have received over 170 sets of commitments from organisations and governments from around the world. For example, nine national governments have committed to passing or formulating new or revised laws to give people with disabilities greater rights in the countries in which they live.
  • 18 more governments and organisations have committed to new action plans for disability inclusion.
  • 33 governments and organisations have committed to support people with disabilities affected by humanitarian crises. This includes the Australian Government, who will give $16.4 million to support disability inclusion action in response to the Syria crisis.
  • 19 governments, businesses and other organisations have also pledged to develop the skills of disabled people and help them access decent work. And a particular thank you to the Government of Kyrgyzstan for committing to ratify the CPRD.

The list could and does go on.

Our success here today will be measured in the weeks, months and years that follow. We want to keep up the incredible momentum and energy that you have generated in this room today. That is why we have already started work to track and build upon all of commitments we have made.

The first phase will start work tomorrow and we will ensure all commitments made at the summit are visible and accessible online.

Over the next year, progress against the commitments will be monitored and a progress report will be published in 2019 to show how far we have come. The report will help us share good practice and support each other going forward.

We will prioritise investing and supporting civil society, disabled persons organisations, and their networks in a number of focus countries.

These accountability measures arrangements will help us stay on track over the first year, but it won’t stop there.

We must keep tracking and reporting on our progress against commitments made at this summit and beyond.

We must continue to raise the profile of and champion disability inclusion in global development initiatives.

We must accelerate disability inclusive development by mobilising additional new commitments and new actors beyond the summit.

And we must continue to progressively set more ambitious goals and share good practice and evidence.

We have already started talking to a number of organisations here today and we would like to hear from you all.

Over the next 12 months we can develop this partnership approach together and launch next year alongside the first progress report.

I encourage you to reach out to colleagues at DFID and at IDA if you are interested in shaping this long-term strategy and achieving lasting change for people with disabilities.

We should all be proud of what we have achieved today. We have raised the global ambition and attention and focus on an area that has been neglected for far too long.

We have mobilised an amazing array of new global and national commitments towards achieving the Global Goals and UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

But above all, we have delivered a summit led by people with disabilities for people with disabilities. And as we go forward we must ensure people with disabilities continue to lead.

This is not just the right thing to do for common humanity – but it is the smart thing to do in ending extreme poverty. If we get things right for people with disabilities, we get things right for all people.

The summit is just the start. We all have a shared responsibility to ensure that the momentum continues.

By working in partnership, we can achieve lasting change for people with disabilities in the world’s poorest countries, and build a healthier, fairer and more prosperous future for all.

Now is the time. Let’s get to work.

Thank you.

Published 25 July 2018