Sign language translations during Disability-inclusive DRR sessions in the AMCDRR 2016
Disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction has been discussed for years. Although it has been largely acknowledged as urgently important, existing barriers and issues have been detaining inclusion from happening at the scale where it should be. Realising the urgency of bringing disability-inclusion to the next level, Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DiDRRN) actively participated in the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016. Being held on 2 – 5 November 2016 in New Delhi, India, the event gathered disaster risk reduction actors from all over Asia and the Pacific.
In collaboration with other organisations in Disability Stakeholder Group, DiDRRN organised a pre-conference event and a thematic session. Through fruitful discussions, it was identified that disability-inclusion is considered as a standalone issue and the implementation is often left solely for Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) or disability-focused organisation. Furthermore, the discussion also brought up the challenges in mainstreaming disability-inclusion within the existing disaster management mechanism.
Beyond the challenges explained, AMCDRR 2016 provided broader opportunities to share and promote good practices of disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction. DiDRRN and partners brought up together key speakers from several different countries within the region to share learnings and enabling factors to address barriers in actualising disability-inclusion. In the thematic session, there were Mr. Dipendra Manocha from the Regional Resource Centre, New Delhi and Mr. Khom Raj Sharma from Nepal Association of the Blind, explaining the importance of accessible information as well as communication technology (ICT) in saving the lives of persons with disabilities in a disaster. There was also Mr. Peniel Malakar from Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) in New Delhi, presenting technical experiences in providing accessible health services through Universal Design. Speaking convincingly about the increased participation of DPO in developing community resilience, Mrs. Nurul Saadah from Advocacy Center for Women and Children with Disability (SAPDA) shared practical good practices on inclusive community-based disaster risk reduction from Indonesia. Mr. Aloysius Cañete from Alternative to Development (A2D) in Cebu, the Philippines, delivered presentation about DPOs – government collaboration to realise disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction at scale.
Disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction session at the AMCDRR 2016 has successfully involved non Disability Stakeholder Group individuals. High level country representatives attended the session including Minister of Social and Solidarity East Timor, Special Education and Services Director of Ministry of Education and Culture Indonesia, and Faculty Member of Ministry of Home Affairs India. Their participation during the session showed growing awareness and interest of the government to disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction.
AMCDRR 2016 also provided great opportunity to invite all disaster risk reduction actors to take role in implementing disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction. Both of the AMCDRR 2016 outcome document, the Delhi Declaration and the Asia Regional Plan for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR, reinforce the urgency of disability-inclusion at all stages of disaster risk reduction. As clearly stated in the Delhi Declaration, meaningful contribution of persons with disability is integrated within disaster risk reduction. Involvement of all stakeholders is therefore crucial to bring disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction into real practices. (Rizma Kristiana, Deni Aulia/edit: Melina Margaretha)