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Global Disability Summit 2022 Frequently Asked Questions

Event FAQs

Who’s organising the summit?

The Summit is co-hosted by the governments of Norway and Ghana, and the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

When and where is the event?

The main Global Disability Summit is happening on 16th and 17th February 2022, there is also a Youth Summit on 14th, a Civil Society Forum on 15th, 91 side events, four regional summits, four thematic workshops, one private sector roundtable, and one roundtable about We the 15 campaign.  

Is it in person or virtual?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure inclusive participation at the Summit, the event will be held on a digital platform. As one of the hosts is the government of Norway, originally, the plan was to host the Summit in Oslo, so many of the operations for the Summit which is now happening virtually are based in Oslo, Norway.

How many people are attending the Summit?

We are delighted that as of 14th February: 4660 people have registered to attend the Global Disability Summit, 2192 have registered for the Youth Summit and 1163 have registered for the Civil Society Forum. Together, registrations from the Summits come from 170 countries across the planet.

Who’s invited? Any high-profile decision makers?

We are pleased to announce the agenda for the Global Disability Summit 2022 (GDS22).

Speakers include:

  • H.E. Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister, Norway
  • H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republique of Ghana
  • Yannis Vardakastanis, President, International Disability Alliance
  • H.E. António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations
  • Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of World Health Organisation
  • Hon Vicky Ford, Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, United Kingdom
  • Rt Hon Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing
  • His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  • Samantha Power, Administrator, USAID, USA
  • Catherine M. Russell, Executive Director, UNICEF
  • Gerard Quinn, UN Special Rapporteur on Persons with Disabilities
  • Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait
  • Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross

What’s the agenda?

Our agenda and links to all parallel events can be found in our Master Guide.

How will OPDs be involved?

Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) have been consulted and involved in the planning of all the events. OPD are also involved via the hosts, the International Disability Alliance and the International Disability and Development Consortium. A Civil Society Reference Group is also coordinating the active and meaningful engagement of OPDs and CSOs.

How will you make sure people with disabilities are involved in the event?

The agenda of the Summit has been created based on consultation with OPDs. For the Youth Summit, young people with disabilities have played a central role in deciding the agenda and organising the event.

How can I join the event?

Anyone can join the events by registering on our digital platform on the GDS website. You can find out more in our Master Guide to the Summit and parallel events.

I’ve experienced technical difficulties with accessing the live feed from the Global Disability Summit, what should I do? 

We are so sorry about this and for any inconvenience caused. You can access the live stream in two places: one via the GDS website and the other via the government of Norway’s website. On the 16th of February, when some people had problems accessing one of the feeds, we found that they could log onto the other site.  

We made every attempt to test and check the digital platform in advance of the Summit, so we are very sorry for the technical glitches. We will also be publishing a video of the full Summit on the GDS YouTube channel after the events, once the subtitles and sign language interpretation has been checked for accuracy.  

Will materials be available after the event?

The Summit will be recorded and made available on the Global Disability Summit YouTube channel shortly after the event. After the live event, the video will be reviewed for accessibility including checking the accuracy of subtitles and sign language interpretation before being uploaded to YouTube. On 12th January the WHO, governments of Ghana and Norway, and the International Disability Alliance co-hosted a pre-summit, the recording of this event is already available on the GDS YouTube channel.

Does anyone pay to attend the event?

You do not have to pay to attend any of the events.

Will this be a regular event?

The first-ever Global Disability Summit took place in 2018, the second Summit is taking place in February and we hope that in 3-4 years time after 2022 there will be another Summit to continue the momentum of the progress that is being made.


What is the Global Disability Summit?

The Global Disability Summit offers a concrete mechanism for collecting new, ambitious, and widespread commitments which are critical to achieving real change for persons with disabilities. The first Global Disability held 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). The GDS18 inspired unprecedented engagement and generated commitments to action that will help deliver Agenda 2030’s vision to ‘Leave No One Behind' (LNOB) as well as existing obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The Global Disability Summits result in new, ambitious, and widespread commitments that are critical to achieving real change for persons with disabilities.

The Global Disability Summit Secretariat was established to monitor the implementation of the commitments made at the first Global Disability Summit in 2018 (GDS18). Housed within the International Disability Alliance (IDA), the GDS Secretariat works to provide substantive inputs and coordination of the organisation of the Global Disability Summits. 

What is the purpose or aim of the event - and why is it important?

The Global Disability Summits have four main objectives:

  • Raise global attention and focus on neglected areas and inclusive sustainable development
  • Strengthen the capacity of organisations of persons with disabilities in the Global South and their engagement with governments
  • Mobilise targeted and concrete commitments on disability inclusion and inclusive development
  • Showcase best practice and evidence from across the world on disability inclusive development, and progress made from the GDS in 2018.

The first Global Disability Summit (GDS18), held in 2018 in London, generated an unprecedented level of focus on and commitment to disability-inclusive development. 171 national governments, multilateral agencies, donors, foundations,  private sector, and civil society organisations made 968 individual commitments. More than 300 governments and organisations signed the GDS18 Charter for Change, encouraging the focused implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The Global Disability Summit 2022 (GDS22) in Oslo will build on the results achieved at the first Summit, to further accelerate much-needed progress towards the fulfillment of the rights of persons with disabilities worldwide.

What is going to happen at it?

Our agenda can be found here.

How will the summit make a difference?

The hosts expect the Summit to lead to concrete political commitments which will help to reconstruct a post-pandemic word which works better for and includes people with disabilities.

For example:

  • Governments to ratify and implement disability protocols such as the UNCRPD and African Disability Protocol, and to ensure we reach the SDGs.
  • Commitments to improve disability laws and legislation to ensure what happened during COVID-19 doesn’t happen again.
  • Commitments in areas such as health, education, employment, inclusive livelihoods and community living.
  • Governments to commit to better collecting data and information on people with disabilities, for example by including disability data in national censuses.

What progress has been made since 2018 (the last summit)?

Since the GDS18, we have been working hard to ensure that we put an accountability mechanism in place to monitor the commitments made at GDS18 and also plan for future Summits, such as the one being held in Norway in February 2022.

  • We publish annual reports to monitor the implementation of the commitments and check in with stakeholders on how they're getting on with their commitments. Check out our 2020 Report here.
  • We have also helped to deliver a number of national consultations to assess progress made against national commitments adopted in 2018, discuss thematic priorities, and plan events, discussions, and training for the run-up to the main GDS event in Norway in February 2022. 

Isn’t this just another meeting where people talk about progress but don’t make any?

Talking can be an important part of the process of change, and the tangible progress that has been made since the last Summit shows that the GDS is focussed on action not just dialogue. Have a look at the progress reports linked above for further information. 

How will you make sure decisions made are implemented?

The Secretariat has established an accountability mechanism to follow the implementation of commitments,  supporting stakeholders to achieve the promises they made. We are working with Governments in planning their future Summits, and coordinating the participation of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) in the preparation of the Summits and mechanisms that feed into them. 

I want to get involved with implementing progress after the event, how can I do this?

That’s great! Get in touch with your Government and lobby for the implementation of commitments they made in both 2018 and 2022. You can read more on commitments here.

I want to get involved with the event, how can I do this?

Over 90 side events are going to be held in the margins of the GDS22. Feel free to browse and attend any of these!

Also, do you have any recent stats on the impact of covid on disability?

The pandemic has shown us how far we have to go until the rights of people with disabilities are actually realized in practice, and data collection is key to this. In the UK, estimates revealed that people with disabilities accounted for as many as three-fifths[3] of COVID-19 deaths. This may be the case the world over, but reliable data on people with disabilities — another under-resourced area of global development — doesn’t exist in all countries for comparison, particularly in low income countries. So, one key call for many governments at the summit is to better collect reliable disability data.


  • IDA published a COVID-19 survey in Sept 2021 which contributes to the growing body of international evidence documenting the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on persons with disabilities, addressing more specifically the situation of underrepresented groups in underreported regions. It is estimated that 80% of persons with disabilities live in developing countries. Yet, there are considerable gaps in documenting the impact of COVID-19 on their lives at an international level. This survey took answers from 600 people around the world.
  • IDA area on COVID 
  • March 2021 report on COVID-19 and disability 
  • WHO’s official stance from November 2021 is that - Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including: directly due to increased risk of infection and barriers in accessing healthcare; indirectly due to restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus (e.g., disruptions in support services). 


Will the summit be accessible?

The Summit is happening online and will feature a video feed, captions and sign language interpretation. After the live event, the video will be reviewed for accessibility including checking the accuracy of subtitles and sign language interpretation before being uploaded to YouTube.

What’s your website accessibility policies?

The Global Disability Summit website has been built with the following accessibility components

  • WCAG compliant - the GDS platform is conformant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level AA. Partially conformant means that some parts of the content do not fully conform to the accessibility standard, although there is continuous work to fully meet the guidelines. WCAG is the main web content accessibility standard being used at the time of development.
  • Tailor accessibility for surveys - integration of functionalities that will meet the accessibility requirements of persons with disabilities specific to data collection. We’ve done this to ensure the online survey environment is not only WCAG compliant but also includes methods that will ensure all can participate, for example, the use of tooltips for increased access to definitions and additional information. We understand persons with diverse user requirements will be interacting with GDS platform so we have made it easier to turn on and off accessibility features so that one feature does not impede other accessible features.
  • Format Diversity - all effort is made to integrate accessible formats as much as possible within the GDS platform, including easy read, sign-language, plain language, and diversity (flexibility) in means of communication.
  • Flexibility - for ease of online connectivity for those with limited internet access
  • Limitations - priority in terms of accessibility is given to the public facing part of the application. Despite our best efforts to ensure accessibility of the GDS platform, there may be some limitations. Below is a description of known limitations, and potential solutions. Please contact us if you observe an issue not listed here.

Known limitations:

  • Interactive Analytics is yet difficult to interact with a screen reader.

Technical specifications:

Accessibility of the GDS platform relies on the following technologies to work with the particular combination of web browsers and any assistive technologies or plug-in installed on your computer:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

These technologies are relied upon for conformance with the accessibility standards used.

We welcome feedback on the accessibility of the GDS platform and will try to include any learnings into feature events and communications. Please let us know if you encounter accessibility barriers or have a suggestion:

Sightsavers and GDS

How are Sightsavers involved in the GDS?

Dom Haslam is Deputy CEO of Sightsavers and the Chair of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC). Dom is a member of the Global Disability Summit’s Civil Society Reference Forum.

To help support the Summit from December 2021 until the Summit has finished, Sightsavers has seconded a member of the communications team (Rebecca Mintrim, Communications Strategist) to work in the Global Disability Summit Secretariat and provide support in this area. A number of the Sightsavers Campaigns and Communications team are now helping to provide hands on support during the peak period of the Summit and have been working in close collaboration with communications and event management professionals in the government of Norway and the International Disability Alliance.

Sightsavers are also involved in organising six side events.


What’s the agenda?

Our agenda and links to all parallel events can be found in our Master Guide. 

Why is my topic not on the agenda?

There are 91 side events during the Summit that will cover a vast array of topics and involve a large number of organisations and individuals.

Who was consulted when the agenda was put together?

We consulted with a number of partners, including the Global Action on Disability Network, and the Civil Society Reference Group.

Contact details

How can I contact the event organisers?

Please contact: and we will try to respond to feedback within 5 business days.

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more on our website: