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Global Disability Youth Summit 2022

IDA, UNICEF, and the Atlas Alliance, represented by Youth Mental Health Norway, co-hosted a Youth Summit on 14 February 2022 to ensure the inclusion of youth in the Global Disability Summit.

A historical moment 

The Global Disability Summit (GDS) is an international mechanism created in 2017 as a result of conversations between several governments and the International Disability Alliance (IDA). The GDS aims to galvanise the global effort to address disability inclusion in the world’s poorest countries, offering a concrete mechanism for collecting new, ambitious, and wide-spread commitments from a range of stakeholders, critical to achieving real change for persons with disabilities.

The first GDS, held in London in 2018 (GDS18), was a historic event for disability inclusion, co-hosted by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Kenya, and the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

International Disability Alliance (IDA), the Government of Norway, and the Government of Ghana  co-hosted the second Global Disability Summit 2022 (the Oslo Summit) on 16 and 17 February 2022 (GDS22). The Summit mobilised efforts for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and focused on building back better with regards to COVID-19, the principle of ‘Leave No One Behind’ (LNOB).

Another successful GDS further accelerated the implementation of the CRPD, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the realization of previously made commitments from the first GDS.

 The Oslo Summit has the vision of promoting equality, with the objectives to:

  • Raise global attention and focus on inclusive sustainable development, building on the first GDS;
  • Showcase progress, and good practices;
  • Mobilise targeted and concrete commitments on disability inclusion and inclusive development; and
  • Strengthen the capacity of organisations of persons with disabilities in the Global South and their engagement with governments.

GDS Youth – the world’s first summit for youth with disabilities 

The GDS Youth Summit  was held online on 14 February 2022. IDA, UNICEF, and the Atlas Alliance, represented by Youth Mental Health Norway,  co-hosted this Summit to ensure the inclusion of youth in the Global Disability Summit. All planning and decision making around the Summit are being led by youth with disabilities, including through the design of a novel format to ensure the participation of youth from around the globe, from local to global.

The Summit showcased the innovations of organizations led by youth with disabilities. Youth with disabilities at the local, regional and global levels have created groups and activities, both online and offline, fostering a sense of community, even during the COVID-19 period.

In many instances, several youths with disabilities emerged as leaders to promote inclusion, accessibility and access to basic rights and services to their communities, having leveraged opportunities, including those presented by technology. At the same time, the intersectional barriers experienced by youth with disabilities, particularly those from underrepresented groups, limited their potential for leadership and participation. These barriers need to be recognized and addressed. Youth with disabilities do not want to remain passive recipients of programmes and policies, but want to be recognized and supported as agents of change.

Through the Summit, the youth focused on topics that they have identified to be particularly important in this regard, such as participation of youth in OPDs and youth mainstream organizations, inclusive education, deinstitutionalization and community inclusion, access to employment, climate change, new technologies, humanitarian action, access to inclusive healthcare including sexual reproductive health and mental health, among others.

The Summit has the potential to deliver real and lasting change in the lives of youth with disabilities around the world, with new strong commitments to also rebuild better after the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, supported by the active involvement of youth with disabilities in the implementation of the CRPD and realization of the Agenda 2030.

The specific objectives of the Summit are:

  • Meaningful participation of diverse stakeholders including states representatives, UN Agencies, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), agencies for development and cooperation, youth CSOs and other interested parties, including at country and regional levels in discussions led by youth with disabilities
  • Contributing to a broader goal of shifting attitudes towards youth with disabilities and recognition of them as agents of change in implementation of the CRPD and the Sustainable Development Goals,
  • Showcasing progress, and good practices on inclusion and empowerment of youth with disabilities, specifically including showcases from underrepresented groups, such as girls and women with disabilities, people with intellectual, psychosocial, disabilities, people with deafblindness, autistic people, and minority and indigenous youth with disabilities, among others.
  • Mobilizing targeted and concrete commitments and stressing accountability towards the inclusion of youth with disabilities in development, human rights, and humanitarian actions,
  • Strengthening capacity of organizations of persons with disabilities in the Global South to have a strategy on youth and to foster their engagement with governments,
  • Mobilizing the critical mass of youth with disabilities in line with the principle of “Leaving No One Behind” (LNOB) following the CRPD principles of “Nothing About Us, Without Us!”

And finally, lasting change brought on by the final call to action around the overarching commitments to be signed by participants. 

Youth Charter for Change

A working group consisting of co-hosts and selected partners was responsible for developing a Youth Charter for Change - summing up and challenging the commitments. The Charter was handed over to the hosts of the GDS22 High-level Meeting during the first half of the first day of the GDS22, on the 16th of February 2022.

The Charter is structured according to the main themes of the GDS Youth and serve as a common departure to frame the event as priorities set by youth with disabilities – who are active, dynamic agents of change, and forward-looking subjects of their human rights.

GDS Youth Recordings are now Available HERE - Check them out!

Youth with disabilities: From holding rights to exercising them Call for action, watch the Full Video.

You can download GDS Youth Summit 2022 agenda in pdf HERE and in jpeg HERE.

You can download the Map of GDS Youth - 24 Hour Virtual Event HERE.

You can download the Global Disability Youth Summit list of sessions, moderators and speakers in Portuguese (Word and PDF), Spanish (Word and PDF), French (Word and PDF), and English (Word and PDF).

You can download the flyer HERE.

You can download a concept note for the GDS Youth in word format HERE.

You can download a save the date in English HERE and in Spanish HERE.

You can register for the Youth Summit 2022 HERE.

For further information, contact: