Norway, together with Ghana and the International Disability Alliance, hosted the second Global Disability Summit in February this year. The vision of the Summit was “Promoting Equality: Lasting Change for Persons with Disabilities through Joint Action”. Two of the overarching themes were “Meaningful engagement” and how to “build back better and more inclusively after Covid-19”. This is still my vision. And I am confident that you, the COSP delegates, also share this goal.
It means a lot for our joint efforts that we had such broad participation in the Summit, and such excellent contributions. Representatives from fifty states participated in the programme. More than seven thousand had registered for the event. Over 1400 commitments were announced. These commitments will help prevent persons with disabilities from being left behind in our societies.
An overall message from the Summit was that it is crucial that we engage, in a meaningful way, with Organisations of Persons with Disabilities or “OPDs”. This is important because participation is a human right, and a fundamental principle of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. Meaningful engagement is necessary if we want these rights to become reality on the ground.
Norway is committed to promoting meaningful engagement with OPDs, both nationally and internationally. We have good experiences collaborating with OPDs, and we will continue to involve these organisations in our work, including in our development cooperation. We hope that all actors will do the same.
Inclusive development is a priority for my government: We launched a new strategy for disability-inclusive development during the Summit. This strategy also forms the basis for the Norwegian international commitments that we announced at the Summit.
Tracking development funding for disability-inclusive development is one of our priorities. Tracking of funding is crucial for knowing how to make progress, how to work strategically. Therefore, this issue is included in the Norwegian commitments for GDS.
We encourage development partners to increase reporting on, and tracking of, efforts to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities. At the end of the day, tracking efforts and fostering better data, will allow you to hold governments such as mine, and other relevant actors accountable.
Let me wrap up by adding that I am very glad that Jordan and Germany will host the next Summit, together with the International Disability Alliance. I look forward to what I am certain will become a new milestone for disability-inclusive development.