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Discussion Paper on OPD Engagement

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The International Disability Alliance (IDA) and NORAD are pleased to launch the GDS Discussion Paper on OPD engagement. This Paper is a contribution to unpack, frame, guide and incentivize engagement of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) in development and humanitarian action through the Global Disability Summit (GDS) 2022.

While disability inclusion is increasingly part of the global agenda, international cooperation policies and programs, efforts to enact commitments too rarely consider the perspectives of persons with disabilities themselves. This results in lack of relevance of interventions to the real concerns and priorities of persons with disabilities, missed opportunities or pervasive charity or medical approaches. OPD engagement is therefore one of the overarching themes of the GDS 2022, in line with the motto of the disability rights movement ‘Nothing about us without us’, and with its legal translation into the general obligation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, Article 4.3) to actively involve persons with disabilities through their representative organizations. The International Disability Alliance (IDA) led the development of this paper in consultation with partners and allies, including the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) network and its members.

Summary: The Paper recalls the legal framework and rationale for the unique role of OPDs as representative organizations as envisaged in the CRPD (Part 1). It then takes stock of the current situation by exploring OPDs’ perceptions of their participation in decision making and illustrating progress in promoting effective participation of OPDs as monitored by the UN system through the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy (Part 2). Using evidence from case studies collected through an open call, the paper attempts to unpack what OPD engagement means in practice, and to provide some evidence of what has worked and lessons learned (Part 3). The paper concludes with recommendations for commitments and action through the GDS and beyond, to ensure that OPD engagement becomes a core component of disability-inclusive development and humanitarian action.

In the context of the 2nd Global Disability Summit (2022), the International Disability Alliance (IDA) was commissioned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) to develop a Discussion Paper as a contribution to unpack, frame, guide and incentivize engagement of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) in development and humanitarian action.

To ground the Discussion Paper’s recommendations into concrete examples and case studies of what has worked so far to advance OPDs’ participation in development and humanitarian action, a call for good practices/ case studies was launched in August 2021.

Illustrating the growing interest for this topic and the traction of the Global Disability Summit itself, IDA received a total of 92 case studies in response to this call, covering examples from over 40 countries, including:

-        34% were submitted by OPDs,

-        29% were received from INGOs,

-        20% were received from others, which included those from associations, consortia, education institutes,

-        11% practices were identified by their organisations as belonging to more than one category and

-        7% practices were received from donor agencies

Case studies were screened with the support of an external advisory group, and after a process of quality assurance, 12 case studies were included in the Discussion Paper.

Acknowledging the efforts made by all organizations who submitted a case study, this webpage entails a link to all 92 case studies received as they were sent (unedited). Please note that this does not mean that case studies posted here are endorsed by IDA, NORAD, the GDS Secretariat nor by the advisory group who supported the selection.

To access OPD Engagement Paper in Arabic click here.
To access OPD Engagement Paper in French click here.
To access OPD Engagement Paper in Spanish click here.

To access all case studies received, click here.

The GDS Discussion Paper on OPD engagement is now also available in French, Arabic and Spanish.