Disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction at Regional Asia-Pacific Conference on Gender and DRR

HANOI: Between the 16th and 18th of May, the Regional Asia-Pacific Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction took place in Hanoi, Vietnam. On the second day of the conference, the Hanoi Disabled People’s Organization (DPO Hanoi) and the Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DiDRRN) organized a side event on Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction.

The event was attended by 40 participants, including representatives of DPOs in Vietnam, representatives of the Regional UNISDR Office, the Director of Regional UN Women, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Control/ Deputy Chief of the standing office of the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Management of Vietnam, the UNDP Senior Advisor on gender inclusion, and a number of other highly distinguished delegates.

During the event, representatives from Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) shared their concerns about the disadvantages they face in responding to disasters, as well as the particular needs they have during disasters, and the barriers that prevent them from participating fully in disaster risk-reduction activities. In light of these constraints, they used the side event to advocate for increased support to help them participate in local disaster risk-reduction activities. The side event was well received by conference participants. “This is the most tremendous event of the conference,” said the UN Women Technical Advisor. She was joined in her opinion by Ms Pham Thanh Hang from UNISDR, who suggested mainstreaming disability inclusion in the National Strategy for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control as well asin  the implementation plan for the Sendai Framework in Vietnam. DPO and DiDRRN representatives recommended that people with disabilities should be invited to participate in the processes of planning, monitoring, and undertaking the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

Mr Nguyen Duc Quang, Deputy Director of the Vietnamese Department of Disaster Prevention and Control, and Deputy Chief of the standing office of the National Committee on Disaster Prevention and Control responded that inviting “representatives of people with disabilities in the Disaster Prevention and Control committees” will be considered “at all levels, especially at the national level.” After the side event, DPO representatives went on to participate in other plenary sessions of the conference in order to advocate for greater attention to disability issues in the final recommendations for gender mainstreaming in the Sendai Framework of Action. Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the DPOs and Malteser International on behalf of DiDRRN, the final draft of this paper contained key provisions relating to inclusivity, accessibility, attending to the needs of at risk groups – including people with disabilities – and the principle of universal design.

The collection of disability disaggregated data before and after disasters was clearly mentioned in the paper. In his closing speech, Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development conveyed his appreciation for the active participation of DPO representatives, who contributed to the success of the conference together with other non-disabled stakeholders.

Source: Malteser International

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