The Pacific Disability Forum (PDF)
was recently awarded the inaugural Pacific Innovation and Leadership Award for Resilience
(PILAR), a major new award in the Pacific for disaster risk reduction. The award was presented during the 6th Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management held in Suva from the 2nd to the 4th of June.
“We are grateful to receive this award as it solidifies our advocacy for the rights for persons with disabilities in disasters. This award is a result of the endless work of persons with disabilities at national level who have been challenged by the many barriers that will ensure their inclusiveness in disaster processes.” PDF Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Setareki Macanawai said.
The award which was a formal recognition by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
(UNISDR) comes in light of PDF’s involvement in Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) in recent years. This includes making people aware that disability inclusion is imperative, that persons with disabilities have contributions to make before, during and after times of disaster and that they are experts in their own impairments.
“Pacific Disability Forum has been working really hard over the past few years to really get disability inclusive activities involved, so making people aware that disability is an important thing, that people with a disability actually have contributions to make and that they are the actual experts of impairment and what they need during a disaster, and making sure that the disaster managers here in the region take their needs into account by involving them in the planning stages for disasters really from very early stages on” said head of the Pacific branch UNISDR, Mr. Timothy Wilcox.
This thinking has led to DRR projects being rolled out in the following pacific islands countries: Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga. These projects focus on the strengths of persons with disabilities through the formulation of a disability inclusive toolkit and close working engagement and partnership with National Disasters Offices.
The panel of judges for the inaugural award included stakeholders from NGOs, UN agencies, donors and universities, and the other two recipients of the award included Caritas Australia and the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific.