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Sightsavers calls on next UK government to commit to disability-inclusive development

June 2024

With the United Kingdom election less than a month away, the next government must be ready to meet the country’s commitments to sustainable and disability-inclusive development.

As political parties begin to role out their manifestos, Sightsavers is calling on the next UK government to:

  • Take the lead on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (currently significantly short of meeting necessary targets before they expire in 2030), which bring together environmental and developmental goals within a framework focused on equality and equity.
  • Ensure the UK’s international development policies, processes and programmes are disability-inclusive.
  • Support strong, equitable global health systems and affordable, accessible, universal health coverage.
  • Keep working to eliminate neglected tropical diseases.
  • Take action to address the global eye health crisis, prevent avoidable blindness and make progress towards universal eye health coverage.

2024 is a crucial year for the UK. Leaders from around the world will meet in New York in September for the United Nations Summit of the Future, described by the UN Secretary-General as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance”. It’s also an opportunity to reshape the UN, enabling its member states to meet their commitments on Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as a chance to address threats to international peace and security and realise human rights, international justice and equality goals.

If delivered and acted upon, a successful Summit and robust Pact for the Future (the Summit’s outcome document) will help bring about a more equitable world for everyone – including one billion people with disabilities worldwide, the vast majority of whom live in developing countries. Many people with disabilities currently experience significant barriers in claiming their rights to education, health care and employment, as well as full participation in social and political life.

It’s vital that the next UK government – whichever party or parties it includes – is ready to meet the country’s commitments, made at the Global Disability Summit in 2018 and 2022, to become a global leader in this area and support others to become disability-inclusive. By meeting its commitments, the UK will play a key role on the international stage in creating a more equal world where no one is left behind.

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