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Disability Inclusion Policy Brief - Gap analysis on disability-inclusive humanitarian action in the Pacific

this image shows a girl walking through her school using crutches
Mareca walks through her school

As part of an ongoing effort to promote disability-inclusive humanitarian action in Pacific countries, this policy brief identifies priority actions for disaster readiness, response and recovery. It has been prepared through a collaborative approach and should be a key reference in the future, promoting coordination across all levels and stages of the humanitarian cycle in the Region.

Promoting inclusion in Pacific humanitarian action

Highly prone to natural disasters, in recent years island nations of the Pacific have experienced earthquakes, volcanic activity and severe tropical cyclones. In an ongoing effort to promote humanitarian response that is inclusive of persons with disabilities in Pacific countries – in line with the UN CRPDCBM New Zealand, along with the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) and the New Zealand Aid Programme, have published a document entitled – Disability Inclusion Policy Brief: Gap analysis on disability-inclusive humanitarian action in the Pacific’. 

Gap analysis, self-assessments and case studies

The policy brief is the result of a gap analysis conducted with organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) in the Pacific and NZ-based humanitarian NGOs on experiences during responses to recent natural disasters in Vanuatu and Fiji. Self-assessment surveys were conducted in parallel, capturing experiences and capacity to respond. Although humanitarian programmes are increasingly adopting a rights-based approach, persons with disabilities in the Pacific still reported gaps on inclusion which are identified in this document. Case studies on two tropical cyclones and an evacuation in the wake of volcanic activity present the barriers faced by persons with disabilities as captured in needs assessments. 

Priority actions

Priority Actions are identified that include articulating disability inclusion within the sustainable development goals framework, supporting Pacific DPO humanitarian strategy, encouraging synergies between donor agencies and promoting partnerships between humanitarian actors. These are further defined with specifics on preparedness, response and recovery that include cross-learning between DPOs and humanitarian stakeholders, developing inclusive policy, budget and training, advocating for data disaggregated by disability, and ensuring regional approaches reflect ongoing global actions.

Collaboration and key reference

Recommendations are made based on international standards such as the ‘Humanitarian Inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities’. To help build a well-coordinated regional approach that will lead to greater disability inclusion, priority actions were identified and discussed with key stakeholders, including NZ-based NGOs, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and CBM Australia. Over the coming years the Policy Brief will be used as a key reference to measure and improve disability inclusive policy and practice in humanitarian action in the Pacific region.


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