Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR)

Inclusion in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

During a natural disaster, humanitarian conflict and emergency situations the most vulnerable people are persons with disabilities among other vulnerable groups. Due to lack of information about emergency planning and mal-adaptation to evacuation mapping, when the calamity strikes, these people are left behind, and are unable to access shelter or receive appropriate support or relief for their suffering and loss. Exclusion of disability representative organizations from plan development, policy making, and their lack of participation in risk reduction management programs prior to a disaster and conflict due to barriers caused by inaccessible physical environment tends to exacerbate their survival. Many awareness programs conducted internationally have managed to broadcast and acknowledge the risk faced by persons with disabilities, despite these efforts their inclusion in disaster risk reduction management is not adequately addressed. Moreover, the consequences of a disaster and humanitarian crises adds up to the number of impairments in disability pool. All these factors pivoting a disability must be considered with equal importance in risk reduction preparedness and responses.

International Commitments in DiDRR

Sendai Framework for Action 2015 -2030

Disability Inclusion is considered a guiding principle for DRR by the international community. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-30) reflects this guiding principle by acknowledging that all-of-society engagement is a requisite of DRR management. It promotes an inclusive participation of all people who are at the risk of experiencing a loss to the disaster. Therefore, an effective, empowering risk reduction strategy involves a non-discriminatory gender, age and disability in policy making, preparedness and response.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Disability Inclusion is considered a guiding principle for DRR by the international community. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-30) reflects this guiding principle by acknowledging that all-of-society engagement is a requisite of DRR management. It promotes an inclusive participation of all people who are at the risk of experiencing a loss to the disaster. Therefore, an effective, empowering risk reduction strategy involves a non-discriminatory gender, age and disability in policy making, preparedness and response.

Paris Agreement of United Nations Framework Convention (2015)

The Paris Agreement (2015) of the United Nations Framework Convention emphasized on inclusion of persons with disabilities and ensured that their right of voice for taking actions against climate change disasters must be exercised to provide them with a better chance of combating climate change. A similar climate change preparedness, response and emergency evacuation program has been mainstreamed in SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway. It emphasizes on the importance of strengthening contingency planning and engaging person with disabilities and their representative organization in climate change risk reduction initiatives.

World Humanitarian Summit (2016)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23-24 May 2016. The Summit was a critical moment to set a new vision on how to meet the needs of the millions of people affected by conflicts and disasters. The commitments made for the most vulnerable people including people with disabilities, will also have a critical role in fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Paris Agreement of United Nations Framework Convention (2015)

The Paris Agreement (2015) of the United Nations Framework Convention emphasized on inclusion of persons with disabilities and ensured that their right of voice for taking actions against climate change disasters must be exercised to provide them with a better chance of combating climate change. A similar climate change preparedness, response and emergency evacuation program has been mainstreamed in SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway. It emphasizes on the importance of strengthening contingency planning and engaging person with disabilities and their representative organization in climate change risk reduction initiatives.

Disability Inclusive Disaster Reduction in Pakistan

Geographical location of Pakistan puts it globally under 3 major fault lines out of 7. Furthermore, due to its land characteristics and inadequate land planning, exploitation and unsafe use of its natural resources increases the countries vulnerability to natural disasters. After the earth quake in 2005, Pakistan has faced major casualties and increase in the number of people with physical impairment in the country due to the adverse fluctuation in monsoon climate change and insufficient dame constructions. These two major disasters have affected 2 million people in the country. Due to ineffective inclusion system, lack or resilience and a weak concept of DiDRR, vulnerable population of the community is at the higher risk of being affected by other disasters that might strike again. The frail response and recovery system have exacerbated STEP implemented a project on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction in collaboration with Malteser International with the support of BMZ. The objective of this project was contribution to the increased inclusion and participation of Persons with Disabilities in the planning and implementation of DRR measures on local level as well as to advocate for disability inclusive DRR in national and regional DRR policies and in the next framework of Action (HFA2).

Facilitation and Rehabilitation During Flood Crisis

STEP has been working for empowering persons with disabilities in every walk of life. At the time of Flood in 2010 STEP knew the disparities that persons with disabilities will be faced at the time of rescue and facilitation of services and rehabilitation strategies. To minimize the possibility of this outcome for the two districts of Nowshera and Charsadda, STEP established an information resource centre on disability. The Centre had computerized database system that was connected to the online portals at the STEP Office and Red Crescent Society Pakistan. The database had the national identification number of the persons with disabilities, which was used to disseminate information and profile about persons with disabilities, their nature of impairment and location to their family members. This database system proved to be very helpful in providing Relevant healthcare services, food and shelter, and rehabilitation facilities to persons with disabilities.

Activities Implemented

STEP initiated project with Malteser International focused on Identifying people with disabilities from existing DPOs and train them on leadership, facilitation and DiDRR and to Facilitate SHGs/DPOs to act as community level platforms on DiDRR. Their aim was to Conduct participatory & inclusive Community Risk Assessment (CRA) (& Social Mapping) in project locations and introduce Lobbying activities, one to one meeting with the representatives from Government Ministries, Departments, and Institutes on DRR. STEP Provided assistive devices for mobility to persons with disabilities for minimizing their barriers of mobility and ensured that existing infrastructure at many schools and academic institutes is made accessible.

Prominent Achivements of STEP

Excellence and leadership

Contributed as a speaker to the drafting and lobbying process of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asian Ministers Conference on DRR, Indonesia (2012), Global Platform on DRR, Switzerland (2013), Asian Ministers Conference on DRR, Thailand (2014), World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Sendai, Japan (2015), and Global Platform on DRR, Mexico 2017.

Capacity Building Program

Under its capacity Building Program STEP encouraged and emphasized DPOs participation to act as community level platforms on DiDRR and their visibility in AMCDRR 2014 & 2015.

Changing Mindset Through Knowledge

STEP is an advocate of education both community and people with diversity to break barriers and stereotypes so the persons with disabilities can sprout out from stigma and enjoy their rights in their community. To ensure that their efforts are put into action. STEP participated in Asia-Pacific Meeting on Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction: Changing Mindsets through Knowledge Sendai, Japan, 22-23 April 2014 and 2015.

Other Accomplishments

  • 30 master trainers trained in district Jhang and Swat.
  • CRA conducted all 6 communities of Jhang and Swat.
  • 100 Assistive devices distributed.
  • Small scale modification has been made in selected schools of district Jhang and Swat.
  • STEP participated in Consultation on Incisive Disaster Risk Management in Kathmandu, Nepal, 14-17 April 2014.
  • Presented the case of Pakistan in terms of DiDRR in conference on Disability inclusion in DRR in Norway 20

Future Perspective

With the information resource centre on disability at its disposal STEP aims to empower persons with disability beyond the basic survival services. STEP commits to use recourse centre information for capacity building and training of effected persons with disability by educating them about carrier choices and opportunities, by organizing them in displaced persons organizations, enabling them to connect with other organizations working for their rights. STEP Being an advocate of “Changing mindset through knowledge” is focused on creating a “seat on the table” for persons with disability in the constitutional sector. To ensure this idea is implemented STEP is currently making efforts to establish a centre for inclusive development in national library of Pakistan. Aim of this endeavor Is to make developmental and disability studies inclusive and accessible for effective disabled population. And to call out to international institutes for their collaboration in training persons with disability so they are competent with adequate expertise to plan and design policies and healthcare and academic infrastructure as per their needs and requirements.

Accessibility