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Leave no one behind: a promise in peril

A call for transformative and accelerated action on the Sustainable Development Goals that is inclusive of people with disabilities at the 2023 SDG Summit.

People pulling a rope wrapped around the globe, to stop it falling off a cliff

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promised to ‘leave no one behind’, but progress is well off track.

Earlier this year, the UN Secretary-General wrote to all world leaders inviting their attendance at the SDG Summit with the aim that it would reignite a sense of hope, optimism and enthusiasm for the 2030 Agenda. Describing it as a ‘unique opportunity to fundamentally change course’, UN member states were asked to negotiate a disability-inclusive political declaration and for each member state to announce national and global commitments that will help drive SDG transformation.

Sightsavers’ Equal World ‘Promise in Peril’ campaign launched on 12 June 2023. A hundred days from the start of the SDG Summit and calls on world leaders to not miss this opportunity to put a rescue plan in place and to ensure people with disabilities are central to the development and delivery of that rescue plan.

Since then, our campaign has been supporting influencing in over 20 Sightsavers countries in Africa and South Asia, as well as at the global level at the UN. And has been calling on world leaders to deliver disability-inclusive transformative and accelerated action through a disability-inclusive political declaration and disability-inclusive national commitments.

Thousands of people, including leading disability rights activists and organisations of people with disabilities from national and global levels, have joined our campaign by signing this global petition. Direct messages from them to you on why your action at the SDG Summit is essential are featured in this booklet.


signatures from 121 countries
World leaders must act at the SDG Summit in September to rescue the SDGs and truly leave no one behind
Abia Akram, Equal World Ambassador
Abia, a women with disabilities, on her laptop

The global petition

Dear world leaders,

In September 2015, UN member states joined together to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), setting ambitious and wide-ranging targets to end poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. Importantly, they committed to a key promise to leave no one behind – a promise that included people with disabilities.

However, as we now reach the halfway point to the 2030 deadline, progress has derailed, and the SDGs are completely off-track.

And the impacts of COVID-19, global conflict and the escalating climate crisis are only making things worse.

The promise to leave no one behind is in peril.

So today, we’re calling on you to ensure that the political declaration of the SDG Summit taking place this September at the UN and the national commitments you make at the Summit focus on reaching those who are being left furthest behind.

This is our last chance to get the Goals back on track.

We need transformative and accelerated action that is inclusive of people with disabilities and in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

You must act now to rescue the SDGs.


Who signed our petition?

A group of people in Equal World t-shirts stand at an event stall with banners featuring campaign information.

Sightsavers and its partners collected petition signatures through various in-person and digital activities such as attending conferences, community events and on social media.

World map with countries coloured either red or yellow depending on their campaign engagement. Key in the top right.

Our call on world leaders

The SDG Summit is your opportunity to get the SDGs back on track – and with people with disabilities at the heart of the action.

We call on you to make a national commitment that includes people with disabilities in development progress, as their exclusion undermines the realisation of the SDGs.

All world leaders from every country can make significant steps towards this by:

  • Putting robust legislation and policies in place that protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities and that are accompanied by clear accountability mechanisms
  • Disaggregating data on the basis of disability, alongside other factors of exclusion, to ensure that people with disabilities are represented in national statistics
  • Ensuring national budgetary processes are participatory, inclusive and aligned with the SDGs


Without your action, the promise to leave no one behind is in peril. Now it is over to you.

Messages from campaigners to world leaders

“The promise to leave no one behind is important because everyone deserves a better future, regardless of disability, class or social standing.”
Brima, Sierra Leone

“The promise to leave no one behind is important because it makes us all equal.”
Scovia, Kenya

“The promise to leave no one behind is very important because everyone must have a say in the development of society!”
Jean, Cameroon

Key signatories

Signed on behalf of global and regional organisations: European Disability Forum (EDF)
Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
International Disability Alliance
International Disability and Development Consortium
International Paralympic Committee
Transforming Communities for Inclusion
Women Enabled International
World Blind Union

Signed on behalf of country organisations:
Visually Impaired Peoples Society (Bangladesh)
National Council of Disabled Women – NCDW (Bangladesh)
Campaign For Popular Education – CAMPE (Bangladesh)
Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organisation – BERDO (Bangladesh)
National Paralympic Committee of Bangladesh – NPC Bangladesh
Fédération des Associations de Personnes Handicapées du Bénin – FAPHB
ONG Handicap à Visage -Universel – ONG HanVU (Benin)
ONG Famille-Nutrition-Developpement (Benin)
Réseau Inclu (Cameroon)
Plateforme Inclusive Society for persons with disabilities (Cameroon)
CBM Cameroon (Cameroon)
Réseau Camerounais des Organisations des Droits de l'Homme (Cameroon)
Association Deaf Rights – DERICAM (Cameroon)
Disabled People’s Organisation Denmark
Union Guinéenne des aveugles et malvoyants – UGAM
Fédération Guinéenne pour la Promotion des Associations des Personnes Handicapées Association For Promotion Sustainable Development (India)
SDGs Kenya Forum (Kenya)
Kenya Female Advisory Organization
National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (Liberia)
Mental Health Users and Carers Association (Malawi)
Association of People with Physical Disabilities in Malawi
Malawi Union of the Blind
Visual Hearing Impairment Association – VIHEMA (Malawi)
Malawi National Association of the Deaf
Youth Act Alliance (Malawi)
Osi Joe Touching Lives Initiative (Nigeria)
Muslim Hands (Pakistan)
Aga Khan Foundation (Pakistan)
HANDS Pakistan
Pakistan Coalition for Education
AwazCDS-Pakistan/Pakistan Development Alliance
Economic Justice Network (Sierra Leone)
Volunteers Involving Organisations Network (Sierra Leone)
Community Initiative for Peace and Children Foundation (Sierra Leone)
Youth Leadership and Advocacy (Sierra Leone)

Disabled Organization for Legal Affairs and Social Economic Development – DOLASED (Tanzania)
Tanzania National Network of People with HIV/AIDS – TANEPHA
Federation Togolaise des Association de Personnes Handicapées – FETAPH (Togo)
The Equal Opportunities Commission (Uganda)
National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda – NUDIPU
Dignify Girls and Women with Disabilities Association (Uganda)
Inclusion Uganda
Disability Rights California (USA)
Albinism Foundation of Zambia
Zambia Federation of Disability Organisations – ZAFOD
Thisability Hub (Zimbabwe)
Mkundi Foundation (Zimbabwe)
La Coordination des Associations des Étudiants Handicapés des Universités du Cameroun - CAEHUCAM (Cameroon)

Signed as an individual:
Zakia Bari Mamo, Actress (Bangladesh)
Fahmida Nabi, Singer (Bangladesh)
Marcel Candide Hinvy, Journalist (Benin)
Sénateur Robert Oyono, Cameroon’s first senator with a disability (Cameroon)
Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, Chair, Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Ghana)
Hon Kabinet Camara, Conseiller National (Guinée)
Sinead Kane, International Speaker, Lecturer, Solicitor, Athlete (Ireland)
Scader Louis, Disability Rights Advocate (Malawi)
Simon Munde, Disability Rights Advocate (Malawi)
Dr Abel Eigege, The Carter Centre (Nigeria)
James Lalu, Executive Secretary National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (Nigeria)
Dr. Zakariya Mohammed, OSSAP-SDGs (Nigeria)
Oluwatoyin Naiwo, Chartered Manager (Nigeria)
Prof. Uche Amazigo
Nadia Jamil, Actress (Pakistan/UK)
Prof Asad Aslam Khan, former National Coordinator of National Committee for Eye Health (Pakistan)
Peter Sam-Kpakra, Development Secretary (Sierra Leone)
Laura Kanushu, Member of Parliament representing people with disabilities (Uganda)
Dr Femke Bannick Mbazzi, Academic (Uganda)
Sarah Bugoosi Kibooli, Commissioner Special Needs Education, Ministry of Education and Sports (Uganda)
Dr Patrick Ojok, Academic (Uganda)
Susannah Rodgers, Former Paralympic Swimmer (UK)
Nasper Manyau, Former Senator for Disability in the Parliament of Zimbabwe
Senator Annah Shiri, representing persons with disabilities (Zimbabwe)
Senator Ishumael Zhou, representing persons with disabilities (Zimbabwe)
Councillor Brian Malvin K Sithole, Zimbabwe Youth Council