Global Disability Summit

The Global Disability Summit will raise global attention and focus on a long-neglected area, mobilise new global and national commitments on disability and showcase good practice, innovation and evidence from across the world.

The aim of the summit

Globally, an estimated one billion people have a disability, of which 800 million live in developing countries. In these countries, disability is both a cause and consequence of poverty and people often face significant barriers that prevent them from participating fully in society, including getting a quality education and employment.

DFID’s ambition is to make the Global Disability Summit a world-first and a landmark celebration the achievements and rights of people with disabilities, and one that creates an enduring impact and lasting change for people with disabilities around the world – people such as Adhiambo, a young Kenyan girl whose story shows the transformative impact of inclusive education.

Star Teacher: The story of Adhiambo and Risper

What will happen at the Global Disability Summit?

The summit, which takes place on 24 July at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, is built around major commitments to be made around four major themes (dignity and respect for all, inclusive education, economic empowerment and technology & innovation) and includes additional cross-cutting and strategic spotlight sessions.

Our programme is supported by a vibrant combination of marketplace exhibits, music and film – with leaders, speakers and activists with disabilities at its heart.

The Summit follows its sister event on the 23 July at the same venue: the Civil Society Forum. This event, hosted by the International Disability Alliance, is a one-day event to which all invitees to the summit will also be invited. The purpose of the Forum is to amplify the voice and participation of persons with disabilities in the outcomes of the Summit, through their individual participation and that of representative organisations (DPOs). Read more about the Civil Society Forum.

The summit programme (Tuesday 24 July)

8.30am-10am: Preregistration

Outdoor demonstrations from the Special Olympics, performance from the Pandemonium Drummers and a marketplace featuring Microsoft, the Shaw Trust, the United Nations, Sightsavers, and 20 more organisations who are innovating for and with people with disabilities all over the world

10am-11am: Welcome

Setting the scene for the summit are short keynotes from the world’s only Head of State with a disability President Moreno of Ecuador, DFID’s Secretary of State, Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani of Kenya, the UNDP’s Achim Steiner, and Chinese activist and writer Ms Zhang Haidi, with a special musical performance from world-renowned percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

11am-1pm: Dignity, respect and more

Kenyan MP and activist Isaac Mwaura chairs an interactive session featuring Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore on action aimed at ensuring dignity and respect for all. This is followed by optional sessions on a strategic topic which delegates can choose from: 1) Gender with a focus on Violence against Women and Girls, 2) Data and Disability, 3) Disability inclusion in Syria and the region and 4) Leadership and Representation.

1pm-2pm: Lunch

Eat and network with others from around the world, visit the marketplace or see an Oscar-winning short film about disability and education.

2pm-4.30pm: Inclusive education, economic empowerment, technology and innovation and more

Listen to and interact with global leaders from the Global Partnership for Education, UNICEF, Unilever, Essilor and other movers and shakers from disabled people’s organisations, the private sector and developing countries at the forefront of innovating with and for people with disabilities. Followed by a second optional strategic topic which delegates can choose from: 1) Moving from promise to practice in humanitarian response, 2) Accessibility 3) Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and 4) Leave No One Behind.

4.30pm-6pm: Commitments, next steps and accountability

The summit’s commitments and collective ambitions will be captured at a summary level in the GDS18 Charter for Change, a ten-point charter that we want everyone attending to sign up to. This session will also explain how specific actions promised by international and national leaders will be monitored and followed-up over coming months and years.

Follow @DFID_Inclusive and @DFID_UK on Twitter and the main sessions of the summit will be live streamed on this page.

Download a one-page PDF of the Global Disability Summit programme

Four main themes of the summit

Please find below four background documents on the four main themes of the Summit:

  1. Dignity and respect for all
  2. Inclusive Education
  3. Economic Empowerment
  4. Harnessing Technology and Innovation

These papers briefly explore the global context on disability inclusion; as well as summarising the main challenges and ways forward. They will inform discussions at the Summit and serve as a background document for all attendees.