Prime Minister’s opening speech at the Global Disability Summit

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, friends, It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to this second Global Disability Summit. I am delighted to be here today co-hosting this game changing event together with president Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Mister Yannis Vardakastanis, president of the International Disability Alliance.

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Prime Minister’s opening speech at the Global Disability Summit.
Prime Minister’s opening speech at the Global Disability Summit. Credit: Stine Østby.

Thank you all for joining us today – and in particular, I would like to thank the organisations of persons with disabilities, who have been instrumental in the lead up to the Summit.

An impressive number of participants are with us here today, in excess of 4000 persons are registered for the summit.

Today, we have come together to commit to change. To step-up our efforts to improve the lives of persons with disabilities around the world

It’s now a great honor for me to introduce one of my two co-hosts, the president of Ghana His Excellency, Nana Akufo-Addo. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Persons with disabilities make out some 15 % of the world’s population. In many countries, persons with disabilities are among the most marginalised. The pandemic has increased inequalities.

Improving the lives of persons with disabilities will have a significant impact, for individuals, but also for society at large. If the Sustainability Development Goals are to be achieved, social and economic development must be rights-based and disability-inclusive. We shall leave no one behind.

Building on progress from London, it is my hope that the Oslo Summit should become a powerful platform for committing to lasting change in the lives of persons with disabilities. With the number of commitments and all of you present, I believe we will succeed.

Together we must and can combat various types of barriers, such as stigma and discrimination. We must and can promote equal access to social services and participation. And we must and can ensure meaningful engagement by persons with disabilities.

Commitments from countries, organisations and private sector from all over the world, will contribute to advancing the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These are commitments that will result in genuine change for persons with disabilities.

My government will do its part. Norway has now developed its first comprehensive strategy for promoting disability inclusive development.

Our international commitments are largely about changing the way we and our development partners work. Our approach will be more disability inclusive in prioritized sectors such as global education, global health, and climate change. To get it right, we will strengthen our engagement and partnership with persons with disabilities and their organisations. We will ensure traceability of our efforts and enhance data collection to make the situation for persons with disabilities more visible.

We will spend 210 mill Norwegian kroner over the next three years to implement the strategy.

At a national level we confirm our intention to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into Norwegian law. We will now identify next steps and consider practical implications. We will also increase knowledge sharing and understanding of the Convention in municipalities and counties.

Today, I feel we are part of something important. But it doesn’t stop here. This is just the beginning. Thank you.

On behalf of the co-hosts, I am pleased to receive the Call for Action from GDS Youth and the declaration from the Civil Society Forum. These two events have brought important knowledge and recommendations to the table. I can assure you that the messages from the Youth Summit and the Civil Society Forum will be reviewed with great attention and will be instrumental in the follow up of the Global Disability Summit. Thank you.