Inclusion of persons with disabilities
Inclusion of persons with disabilities could enhance their livelihoods
“The inclusion of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in community interventions for climate change adaptation will enhance their livelihood and quality of life”, said Pacific Disability Forum CEO Mr. Setareki Macanawai at the Technical Experts and Ministerial Consultations on Strengthening Climate Change Resilience through Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Meeting at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, Denarau Islands, Fiji on 26 October 2015.
According to Mr. Macanawai, the inclusion needs to involve a change of attitudes and mind-set to ensure the active inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in planning, implementation and monitoring of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
“An important consideration for persons with disabilities is improving accessibility and overcoming physical, information and attitudinal barriers,” he said.
He said that, “For persons with disabilities, a people centered approach must align with principles protected within the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) already signed and ratified by 13 Pacific Island countries”.
He reiterated the CRPD Article 11 (on situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies) call on States Parties to 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.”
“Inclusive risk reduction strategies and efforts reduce vulnerability, mitigate the impact of disasters and loss of life as well as build up resilience by enhancing the capacities of individuals, communities and institutions”, said Mr Macanawai.
He adds that “The policies and framework have to build upon the lived experiences, concerns and solutions of those at risk.”
“The UN General Assembly has highlighted that it is impossible to achieve development agendas without incorporating the rights, well-being and perspective of persons with disabilities in development efforts at all levels”, said Mr. Macanawai.
Persons with disabilities are among the poorest of the poor within a community, and typically do not have access to education or other resources, and are often left out of decisions affecting their lives.