At such times of peril, individual and community resilience is at a premium, and we cannot afford to miss opportunities to bolster that resilience wherever possible. This is especially true with respect to certain groups – such as persons with disabilities – who have historically been disproportionately affected by natural hazards.
While some strides have been made in addressing the needs of persons with different disabilities in response and recovery efforts, fewer efforts are aimed at incorporating lessons into long-term disaster and climate risk management at a systemic and/or policy level.
– a topic that was discussed during a Facebook Live chat on September 19.
Such approaches are necessary, not only to ensure that persons with disabilities are not disproportionately impacted by natural hazards, but because
On August 30, a group of experts met at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., to discuss the inclusion of persons with disabilities in disaster risk management (DRM). This consultation was the first of its kind for the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Led by the Disability Stakeholder Group, the impact and influence of bringing together hundreds of persons with disabilities, and representatives disability organizations worldwide resulted in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction leading as the most disability-inclusive international mainstream framework, which clearly sets out how implementers operationalize disability issues.
Aligning with the Sendai Framework priorities for disaster risk reduction, the participants to the experts’ convening identified several issues on disability-inclusive DRM, including:
- Recognize the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as one of the key instruments for DRM. In particular, Article 11 states that “parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.”
- Effective and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in all DRM initiatives, ensuring empowerment in becoming key implementation stakeholders, as defined in the Sendai Framework Section V 36(a)(iii). By coordinating efforts between disaster risk management experts and disability experts, we are supporting cross-learning and capacity development between the two sectors.
- Consider intersectionality between different at-risk groups, and avoid “one-size-fits-all” solutions as a recipe for inclusion. that cuts across all other at-risk groups (gender, poor households, children, ethnic minorities etc.). This necessitates bringing a set of unique expertise and capacities that should be recognized and used to enhance community resilience.
- Consider the interrelationship between the different international and national policies that contribute to DRM, and strengthen the inclusion and capacity of persons with disabilities.
- Consider all risks, and take measures to mitigate structural, social and economic risks that directly affect persons with disabilities.
- Develop a data collection system that considers age, gender, and disability disaggregated data. (See, for example, the Washington City Group short set of questions.) Additionally, identify a set of voluntary indicators that can be used by governments and other stakeholders to track their progress in including persons with disabilities in their disaster risk management programs.
- Ensure that recommendations address different levels of engagement, from community level up to larger systemic levels.
- Ensure that DRM actions across the Sendai Framework are undertaken with a comprehensive approach to accessibility and universal design. For example, community consultations to prepare disaster response plans, early warning systems, disaster response mechanisms, and recovery efforts, will all benefit from being accessible to persons with disabilities and others.
- Feature story: Improving Weather Forecasts Can Reduce Losses to Development in Africa
- Facebook Live on Disability Inclusion
- Blog post: On the road to resilience: Reducing disaster and climate risk in Africa
- Blog post: Flooded rivers: taking a bird’s eye view
- Overview: Disability | Disaster Risk Management
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