The congress, held every four years, brings together representatives from government, business, academics and charitable organisations – 1,000 delegates from 60 different countries are attending the three-day event.
Opening the conference, First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, pledged to: “redouble efforts to tackle inequality head-on” adding that “The economic upheaval of the last decade has exacerbated inequalities across the globe. And we have seen all too clearly what this rise in inequality can lead to. Greater alienation, exclusion and social instability.”
Sturgeon continued by announcing that the Scottish Government, using new devolved powers, would be creating a dedicated employability service for disabled people and promised to further safeguard the rights of the most severely disabled people with the establishment of the Scottish Independent Living Fund.
“This is hugely important because disabled people are not a homogeneous group. They are individuals, and as such have individual circumstances, needs and aspirations – which can change over time,” she said.
This prestigious three day congress in Edinburgh aims to inspire, motivate and energise delegates through speeches from high profile figures, discussions and workshops outlining examples of best practice and solutions that can have a positive impact on disabled peoples’ lives.
The three day event covers themes including: employment, education and skills, independent living and international development and partnerships.