Words are beautiful, but real actions save lives: Promoting disability inclusion at the 2018 AMCDRR


Ms. Dulaamsuren Jigjid delivering the Official Statement at the Summary Plenary Session

The title comes from Mr. Abner Manlapaz, Executive Director of Life Haven Independent Living Center – Philippines, which clearly reflects the current circumstances in the implementation of disability inclusive disaster risk reduction. The availability of global to local policies and regulations addressing the needs of inclusion does not necessarily mean there is a wide-opened door for persons with disabilities to contribute to disaster risk reduction practices. Over the years, one of the persistent challenges in putting inclusion into action is the commitment to collect the Sex, Age, Disability Disaggregated Data (SADDD). The message that “SADDD is not optional” has been widely spread and agreed by various sectors, yet the realisation is still very limited.  

The 2018 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) has opened opportunities for stakeholders to review the inclusion aspect in disaster risk reduction practices at all levels. AMCDRR is a bi-annual event, organised by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), as a mechanism to facilitate discussion, knowledge sharing and multilateral agreement in reducing the risks of disasters in the region. The presence of persons with disabilities in this event made a strong reminder for all that inclusion is not a stand-alone issue. Their active participation become a testimony to the commitment and capacity of persons with disability. This is contrary to the widespread misconception that they are only passive receiver of assistance during disasters. On the other hand, the conference brought evidence of increasing numbers of capacity building opportunities for persons with disabilities. A widened opportunity for capacity building plays a significant part in encouraging leadership roles for persons with disabilities, as mandated by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

DiDRRN took the lead in representing the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities – Thematic Group on Disaster Risk Reduction at the 2018 AMCDRR. Hosted by the Government of Mongolia, the event brought together representatives from over 50 countries across Asia and the Pacific. During the conference, DiDRRN organised a pre-conference meeting, a stakeholder consultation meeting, a side event, a marketplace booth and two ignite stage performances. DiDRRN also took part in the drafting committee of the key outcome documents. These documents are the Ulaanbaatar Declaration and the Action Plan 2018-2020 of the Asia Regional Plan to Implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

The Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities, through their official statement document urged an all-of-society engagement through multi-sectoral and multi-actor approach. In the official statement which was delivered by Ms. Dulaamsuren Jigjid – Executive Director of Culture Centre for Deaf Mongolia, the Stakeholder Group called for collaborations and partnerships in putting inclusion in place. The Stakeholder Group also expressed a strong commitment to contribute and collaborate in realising inclusive disaster risk reduction as mentioned by Mr. Abner Manlapaz during the Statement of Action.  To quote the Official Statement of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities, “All lives matter and disaster risk reduction will not save them without real action. Inclusion saves lives!”

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