The upcoming Global Disability Summit (GDS) 14-17 February 2022 is a good time to put in extra efforts to advocate for national and international policy change.
DPOs are encouraged to use this online event to hold their governments accountable to their obligations to include persons with disabilities, and to secure the implementation of the UNCRPD. DPOs can (and should) play an important role in addressing issues related to inclusive national budgets and helping their authorities get their priorities straight.
To nudge DPOs to take on this role the Atlas Alliance has coordinated the development of an Advocacy Toolkit that can be downloaded free of charge.
The Toolkit has been shared widely through networks as well as with DPOs in 59 countries who are so far new to the Atlas Alliance.
In addition, DPOs in 15 countries have submitted (through Norwegian partners) applications for advocacy grants to implement advocacy campaigns in their country contexts. Some of these projects build on the Toolkit, others already have advocacy experience and competency and just needed some financial support to scale up or get their planned campaigns started. Most of the requested funding will be rewarded and implementation is expected to start early November.
The Toolkit enables and encourages DPOs and other civil society actors to campaign for the fulfilment of the human rights of persons with disabilities in their countries. The Advocacy Toolkit is meant to guide the steps in planning an advocacy campaign, however, needs to be adapted to the context in which the campaign will take place. In the link there is also a separate power point summary of each module for those who do not want to read everything, and a Rough Guide to the GDS with answers to frequently asked questions.
The advocacy efforts we hope all DPOs and others with HR agendas will engage in, can also be used for influencing inclusion efforts in global development aid. Many local campaigns can lead to increased awareness, interest, and identification with the cause, as well as multiple level, worldwide attendance in the Global Disability Summit. If word is spread well and wide enough, the upcoming GDS has the potential to revolutionize the disability rights movement. The fact that it will be a digital event, due to the post-pandemic situation, makes the capacity for attendance almost infinite. It is therefore a unique opportunity for civil society to drive the agenda forward. The time is now to place disability rights in the limelight.
We also call on you who are reading this, to share the Toolkit further and set aside some time to raise your voice for the implementation of the CRPD and mainstreaming disability inclusion across all relevant programs and processes.