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CBM UK Hosts Parliamentary Event with The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell 

Posted on: Thursday, November 23rd, 2023

CBM UK hosted an event in Parliament earlier this week considering, “Building resilient futures to leave no-one behind: harnessing UK leadership in disability inclusive development”. CBM’s message was championed by The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister for Development and Africa who stated that disability inclusion is “relevant to all aspects of international development.” 

Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister for Development, said:

“This government fully understands that addressing the needs of people with disabilities is not a niche issue. The fact that 1/5 of the world’s poorest people have disabilities makes it relevant to all aspects of international development.” 

Andrew Mitchell’s opening words set the scene for a focussed event, bringing together Parliamentarians, senior development practitioners and disability advocates from across the development sector to consider how to build resilient futures.

Hosted by Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, contributions from Andrew Mitchell and CBM CEO Kirsty Smith were followed by a fantastic panel discussion with Jose Viera (International Disability Alliance), Dulamsuren Jigjid (Culture Centre for the Deaf, Mongolia), Diana Dalton (FCDO) and David Bainbridge (CBM Global). Dulamsuren Jigjid commented on the level of “mutual understanding and equality that was achieved between all the different participants at the event.” 

The panellists explored how an inclusive approach to development can have beneficial economic impacts and increase resilience for individuals, their families and communities in line with the UK government’s commitment to Leave No One Behind. They spoke eloquently about the importance of the full participation of people with disabilities and their representative organisations – not as a tick box exercise, but intentionally and meaningfully. 

It was particularly encouraging to hear from the Minister that disability must not be considered a “niche” issue within development policy and practice just days after he had launched a new White Paper on the future of UK international development engagement. He reiterated that “partnership and localisation” are at the heart of the White Paper agenda which in his own words “sets out to get the Sustainable Development Goals back on track and tackle climate change”. 

Kirsty Smith talked passionately about the work of CBM local partners working in inclusive education, climate justice, resilient livelihoods and stigma reduction, including video content from our partners to amplify the voices of people living with disabilities. Kirsty said: 

“It was wonderful to share stories from CBM partners about the barriers faced by people traditionally left behind. They have examples of practical solutions that not only reduce extreme poverty and exclusion, and strengthen agency at the level of the individual, but also build inclusive and equitable communities that contribute to creating more resilient futures for society. We are so grateful for the support of all our contributors, not least for the support of Daniel Zeichner MP, our local Cambridge MP, as our host.”

Jose Viera reflected afterwards: 

“The event managed to go beyond discussing “why” development should be inclusive for all, to “how” we can make this a reality, and the roles that all of us must play. This includes States being responsible for providing resources so that people with disabilities can be in the driving seat of this change, and includes INGOS as supporters of OPDs and as committed partners to inclusive development.”