February 14, 2022

Agenda for the GDS Civil Society Forum on 15th February!

In consultation with civil society partners, IDA and the Atlas Alliance are hosting the Civil Society Forum, an addition to the Summit, to leverage the opportunity to amplify the voice and participation of persons with disabilities, through their individual participation and that of representative organizations (OPDs).

14.00 - 14.30 (CET) Opening Session

This session is an opportunity to tie the Civil Society withthe GDS mechanism. A main objective is topromote the cooperation between OPDs and NGOs, locallyand globally, for the implementation of the CRPD.

Forum Moderator: Gagan Chhabra (the Atlas Alliance)


  • Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Bjørg Sandkjær, Deputy Minister of International Development of Norway. 
  • Feliz Addo-Yobo, Representative form Ghana
  • Yannis Verdakastanis, President, International Disability Alliance
  • Diana Dalton, Head of Gender & Equalities, Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office, UK 

14.30 – 15.30 (CET) Session 1: Creating synergies and partnerships

Session objective:

In this session, we will focus oncapacity-building of OPDs, looking both at organizational development and theway OPDs can work with each other and in synergy with other stakeholders tobring about change. Speakers will discuss opportunities for meaningfulparticipation of persons with disabilities in the development agenda, touching upon issues like funding and inclusiveprogramming, OPD capacity building, coordinationamong OPDs and INGOs,  and advocacy efforts on climate change, gender,youth etc.

Attendees/persons with disabilities would address the following:

  • What is inclusive programming and budgeting
  • How to secure coordination between OPDs and INGO’s
  • Enhancing Capacity , to ensure meaningful engagement of OPDs
  • Advocacy: how OPDs can be involved in and lead the advocacy – steps to get there; good practices

Moderator: Eirin Naess-Sorensen (International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC)


  • Sif Holst (Disabled People’s Organisation, Denmark)
  • Esther Kyozira (National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda)
  • Carlos Rios Espinosa (Human Rights Watch, Mexico)

15.45 – 16.45 (CET) Session 2: Perspectives on an inclusive future – way forward after GDS

Session objective:

This session will serve as a reflection on what are inclusive ways to progress as a society after GDS 2022.

Attendees/persons with disabilities would address the following:

  1. Covid and the CRPD – where do we need to act most urgently now?
  2. Testimonies on how it has impacted persons with disabilities, especially women and girls with disabilities, and particularly marginalized groups within the disability community
  3. Advocacy strategies towards fighting stigma & discrimination
  4. Tracking inclusive funding and programming

Moderator: Mary Keogh (CBM-Global)


  • Martine Abel-Williamson (World Blind Union)
  • Elham Youssefian (International Disability Alliance)
  • Mark Kato (World Federation of the Deafblind - WFDB)

16.45 – 17.15 (CET) Closing session 

Presented by: Rita Kusi (Civil Society Reference Group)