2nd Global Disability Summit
Promise, hope, action
With the 2nd Global Disability Summit taking place in mid-February, my thoughts turn to the subject of commitments. Commitments are inevitably a feature in this line of work. As we did in 2018 for the first Global Disability Summit, EU-CORD has signed up to specific commitments concerning disability inclusion and our international work. Many other donors, civil society organisations and networks are doing the same.
A commitment is not the same as a legally binding contract, such as the UN Convention on Rights of Person with Disabilities – so why do we attach importance to them?
As CEO of a Christian network, I consider the moment in the book of Genesis when, following a devastating flood, a rainbow appears in the sky. This was a visible commitment between God and a renewed earth that God would not inflict such devastation again. The rainbow has since become such a potent symbol of peace and reconciliation that disparate groups have adopted its motif over the years.
From this perspective, a commitment embodies the elements of promise, hope and action announced in a public space, with public accountability. And its symbolic nature, while less legally defensible, is a visible signal of intent – in this case, to the global community, that rights-based disability-inclusive approaches are an essential component of a fully functioning society.
This year, the European Union must report against its responsibilities towards the UN Rights of Person with Disabilities – including its work through DG INTPA and DG ECHO. The Global Disability Summit, therefore, is a critical symbolic moment for the European Union and the Commission, in particular, to re-affirm its commitment and leadership in this area.
Ruth Faber, CEO EU-CORD