Global disability summit

On 24 July 2018 the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID), with the government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance, hosted a global disability summit in London. In late 2016 DFID had announced its commitment to become a global leader on disability, and hosting the summit was one of the ways it aimed to demonstrate this leadership.

Summit attendees included:
• country governments
• multilateral agencies (organisations like the UN and the World Bank, who are funded by multiple governments)
• civil society organisations (including community groups, charities and non-governmental organisations)
• private sector organisations

First: a huge thank you!

In the lead-up to the summit, Put Us in the Picture supporters like you did an incredible job of keeping disability and development issues on the political agenda.

You used your power as a constituent to make sure your MP was supportive of disability-inclusive development. You shared stories on social media to help us reach the widest possible audience. And you joined in our #MakeItCount action (along with some of the people in the video below).


You called for change – and it made a difference.

Thanks to you, specific outcomes we were calling for from the summit were met, including that the UK government should use its influence to make sure attendees committed to making development plans and policies inclusive of people with disabilities, and that it should outline how it plans to hold them to account.

The great news

The summit was a great success in bringing together a host of people committed to creating a disability-inclusive world. There were 300 signatories to the summit’s Charter for Change, which lists 10 steps to ensure “rights, freedoms, dignity and inclusion for all persons with disabilities” and more than 170 disability-inclusive development commitments made.

Here are a few of the highlights:
• Commitments to prioritise the needs of people with disabilities were made by governments including Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and India, and the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) committed to updating and publishing its disability framework by the end of 2018.
• The World Bank made a number of commitments, but the most important of these was to embed inclusion throughout its operations, through its Disability Inclusion Accountability Framework.
• The World Bank also committed to disaggregating data by disability using the Washington Group Questions (which ask about the level of difficulty people experience day-to-day rather than asking them if they consider themselves to have a disability).
• UN Women launched a disability strategy that aims to put women and girls with disabilities at the heart of its work.
• The United Nations system (through the UN Development Programme, representatives of which attended the summit) shared its system-wide action plan on disability to make inclusion a core part of the UN system. It also announced its intention to publish a disability accountability framework in 2019.

The unknowns

While we’re really pleased with the flurry of promises that have come out of the summit, the challenge now is to pin down their specifics and make sure they go from words to action.

We still don’t know exactly what DFID’s accountability framework will look like (beyond a website publishing all summit commitments). But having a robust way of holding commitment-makers to account is essential if we want to see real change. There has also not yet been a commitment from another country to host a follow-up summit within the next five years.

What’s next?

We’ll be keeping up the pressure on DFID and on the summit’s commitment-makers to fully answer our summit calls, and you’ll be vital in holding them to account.

The summit was a key moment in Put Us in the Picture’s history and we’re thrilled that the UK government backed up its promise of showing leadership on disability and development by making the summit happen.

Now that the summit’s over, the charter is signed and the commitments have been made… it’s time for action!

Make sure you’re signed up to receive our email updates so you don’t miss out.