In July 2018, Yasmin Walajee from Hogan Lovells was delighted to join the global leaders from Governments, Industry and NGOs on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London, for the Global Disability Summit. Hosted by the UK Government, the event was the first of its type in the world and focused on the key global development challenges for disability to ensure we ‘leave no one behind’.
The event was held on site of the 2012 Paralympic Games, now home to University College London (UCL) Stratford Campus and within it, the Global Disability Innovation Hub set up by Hogan Lovells to continue the legacy of the Games.
At the Summit, the UK Prime Minister launched a brand new £20 million programme called AT2030 to address access to Assistive Technology – like wheelchairs, hearing aids, walking sticks and prosthetics, or even mobile devices – for the 900 million-plus people that need them around the world. The WHO estimates that need for Assistive Technology will double by 2050 and that the SDGs can’t be delivered without immediate action so this is a vital step forward.
As an avid backer of the Paralympic Movement, Hogan Lovells immediately offered support to GDI Hub –the lead organisation of this project– as a board member and with legal support.
The AT2030 programme works with global partners like WHO, UNICEF, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Motivation (wheelchairs), Humanity and Inclusion, as well as local partners like Government of Kenya, University of Nairobi and Amref to drive catalytic change around four main areas: better evidence and data; sparking innovation; country-level implementation and building capacity for change and participation by Assistive Technology users.
AT2030 will reach 9 million people over the coming years and it will test new methodologies and service delivery models, as well as support 80 start-ups with an East African Innovation Hub in Kenya. AT2030 is funded by UK Aid and will be matched in full by GDI.
Hogan Lovells is enabling all of this work, through its pro and low bono legal support. But beyond practical guidance, Hogan Lovells also welcomed the AT2030 partnership to HQ in London, for their annual away day and board meeting in May.
GDI Hub CEO and AT2030 Programme Director Victoria Austin said: “Without Hogan Lovells, we simply would not have been where we are today. Not only did they helped us constitute GDI as a Community Interest Company back when we set up in 2016, but through the ongoing advice we have received we have been able to get going really quickly with our support for Assistive Technology innovators and policymakers. Beyond the legal advice, the partnership Hogan Lovells has offered really helped us bring this project to life. I know my colleagues at WHO, UNICEF, CHAI and DFID would second my huge thanks to Hogan Lovells and especially to Yasmin and the teams that have been there since the start.”
As we look forward to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, GDI Hub is planning a Disability Innovation Summit on the day before the Games start in Tokyo and looks forward to our continued partnership with Hogan Lovells to 2020 and beyond.