|Friday, 18th February, 2022
This week the UK Government announced at the Global Disability Summit (GDS) the launch of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) strategy for Disability Inclusion and Rights across the globe to 2030. Click here to read the FCDO Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy 2022-2030 (open link in new tab).
The Rt. Hon Liz Truss MP, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, states in her foreword to the strategy, that in order to lead the UK needs to be “working with, listening to and answering the needs of people with disabilities across the globe.”
Kirsty Smith CEO of CBM UK and Basic Needs welcomed the ambition of the new strategy commenting:
“The barriers caused by poverty and society means that for people with disabilities their potential to participate fully in family life, education, employment whilst protecting their personal safety is so often denied. CBM UK welcomes the recognition by the UK Government, as they launch the FCDO’s Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy, that people with disabilities worldwide must be full and active members of society and decision-makers in all aspects of life. The ambition of the strategy shows a real desire to ensure that their rights are upheld.
What CBM UK calls for now is a commitment to fully collaborative actions and accessible funding which will enable meaningful change to break the cycle of poverty and disability. This needs to be driven by those with lived experience. We look forward to supporting the UK Government in the framing of a delivery plan to ensure measurable outcomes that are generated and monitored by people with disabilities alongside transparent and open accountability.”
During the opening session of the GDS Minister Vicky Ford signalled that this is a key time to stimulate global action in support of people with disabilities. In launching the strategy and making 18 new commitments Minister Ford said that these must “work for everyone, empowering people with disabilities to have agency, opportunity and the dignity to live their lives on their own terms.”
At CBM UK we are really encouraged by the fact that this strategy signals a continued desire by the UK Government to provide global leadership in Disability Inclusion. In publishing their high-level ambition it demonstrates a clear commitment to the inclusion of the one billion people with disabilities around the world in their diplomatic influencing and programmes.
However in the last two years the Covid-19 pandemic and the wide ranging UK Government aid cuts have had a devastating impact on people in the world’s poorest places, including people with disabilities. In the light of this new strategy it is now time for the UK to demonstrate leadership in tackling global poverty; to create opportunities for the most marginalised, focussing efforts and aid spending where the need is greatest.
The FCDO intentions to meaningfully engage, empower and enable people with disabilities to exercise and enjoy their full rights and freedoms on an equal basis with others, without discrimination and across the life-course is a continued step in the right direction. Accountable delivery of those aspirations will help ensure that no one is left behind, as it is essential that these words are translated into actions and accessible funding which mirrors the stated commitments.
Image: Members of Organisations of People with Disabilities (OPDs) attending a CBM-supported Bridge CRPD training in Uganda.