Behinderung und Entwicklungs­zusammen­arbeit e.V.

Conference documentation online: Being Left Behind!

On 29th Septemeber 2020 the conference on "Being Left Behind - Making Global Health Inclusive" took place in Berlin.

The conference was jointly organized by bezev, Caritas international, Handicap International, Kindernothilfe and Misereor.

The current corona virus knows no boundaries and can affect anyone and everyone. However, how people can protect themselves and how they are affected by its effects varies. 

At the international level, current experience shows that in many countries, people with disabilities have been forgotten in this pandemic, and they first had to be made aware of the need to be taken into account.  

This crisis exemplifies the deficiencies that exist in healthcare systems. Good health care is not available for many people, especially people with disabilities - often with serious consequences. Even in rich countries, they still experience disadvantages.  

With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the states have committed themselves with SDG 3 to ensuring a healthy life for all and promoting their well-being. 

How are people with disabilities taken into account and how can health systems change in a more inclusive way within the framework of their universal health care so that no one is left behind? 

What are the needs of children and women with disabilities or older people and what is already happening to make global health more inclusive? 

What are the requirements for a more inclusive implementation of SDG 3?

These were questions that were jointly discussed and debated during the conference.


Gabriele Weigt, managing director of bezev, welcomes the participants on site and online at the extraordinary conference Being Left Behind under special corona conditions.

Gabriele Weigt, managing director of bezev, welcomes the participants on site and online at the extraordinary conference Being Left Behind under special corona conditions.

Presentations of the speakers

The introduction by Jürgen Dusel, the Federal Government Commissioner for the Interests of People with Disabilities, was followed by presentations on the global challenges in the field of health care for people with disabilities and on the experiences of people with disabilities in the current corona pandemic. 

Afterwards, the first panel focused on international health policy issues relating to people with disabilities. 

In the second panel, the topic of intersectionality in the field of health care for people with disabilities was impressively considered from three different levels. 

Below you will find the presentations of the speakers:

The participants of the conference are following the various contributions with great interest, here the lecture of Ms. Kathrin Oellers from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The participants of the conference are following the various contributions with great interest, here the lecture of Ms. Kathrin Oellers from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Presentations from the working groups

After the lunch break, the participants exchanged experiences and approaches to solutions in three different working groups, both on-site and online, together with the speakers on the topics including health care in Germany, universal health care in technical cooperation, and universal health coverage and rehabilitation.

The event was rounded off in the afternoon with a panel discussion in which representatives from politics, international cooperation and civil society discussed the question of how Germany can contribute to an inclusive implementation of SDG 3.

Presentation of the speakers:

Kathrin Oellers from BMZ, Alarcos Cieza from WHO, Jessica Schröder from the German Disability Council and Georg Kippels from the German Parliament's Subcommittee on Global Health discuss together with conference moderator Tillmann Elliesen.

Kathrin Oellers from BMZ, Alarcos Cieza from WHO, Jessica Schröder from the German Disability Council and Georg Kippels from the German Parliament's Subcommittee on Global Health discuss together with conference moderator Tillmann Elliesen.

Video recording of the conference

Greeting Jürgen Dusel (Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to Persons with Disabilities)


Presentation Ines Bulic (European Network on Independent Living) on "Being Left Behind! Experiences of Persons with Disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic"


Presentation 1 Alarcos Cieza (WHO) on "Persons with disabilities and healthcare. What are global challenges?"


Presentation Kathrin Oellers (BMZ) on "Global Health and persons with disabilities: how does the BMZ address current challenges?"


Presentation Hannah Kuper (International Centre for Evidence in Disability) on "´The Missing Billion´. How is the access to health services and the health system for persons with disabilities?"


Presentation Valentina Pomatto (Humanity and Inclusion) on "How does the concept of universal health care take persons with disabilities into account? Challenges and perspectives"


Presentation 2 Alarcos Cieza (WHO) on "Persons with disabilities in Agenda 2030 and in the SDG 3/WHO-Action Plan: How does the WHO contribute to an inclusive implementation?"


Presentation Phyllis Heydt (Office of WHO, Ambassador for Global Strategy) on "Learning from COVID-19: how can persons with disabilities be considered during pandemics/epidemics in a better way in future times?"


Presentation Raoul Bermejo (UNICEF) on "What are the needs of children with disabilities in inclusive healthcare, especially in their first years of life?"


Presentation Brigitte Faber (Weibernetz) on "Women and Girls with disabilities: what are their requirements for an inclusive health system?"


Presentation Jürgen Focke (HelpAge) on "Elderly persons with disabilities: what are their requirements for an inclusive health system?"


(German) Working Group 1 with Jessica Schröder (Interessenvertretung Selbstbestimmt Leben in Deutschland e.V.) on "How inclusive is health care in Germany? What needs to be improved?"


Working Group 2 with Wendy Awa & Alexander Hobinka (GIZ) on "The path to universal health care: Ambition and reality from Technical Cooperation"


Working Group 3 with Alarcos Cieza (World Health Organization), Chapal Khasnabis (WHO) and Huib Cornielje (Enablement) on "How can the UHC components rehabilitation and assistive devices be used in international health policy receive more attention?