|Activity:||Seminar on Pakistan Perspective towards Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DI-DRR): Rights of Persons with Disabilities|
|Theme:||Investing in DUI-DRR|
|Date:||February 15th (Thursday) 2018 from 8:00 A.M - 11:30 A.M|
|Venue||MCH Auditorium, PIMS Islamabad|
|Number of Participants:||We are expecting more than 100 participants that include students, faculty members from PIMS, Representatives from Government Organization and NGOs, International participants, researchers and guests.|
|Organizing Partners:||Government of Pakistan Ministry Of National Health Services & Regulations& Coordination National Health Emergency Preparedness & Response Network, Islamabad; Disaster Risk Management Unit (DRMU), Graduate School of Business (GSB), Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA)-Manila; and UP Planning and Development Research Foundation, School of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.|
Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are disproportionately affected by disasters. Their physical condition gives them the disadvantage of lacking access to services, knowledge, community networks, and other resources. In the Asia and the Pacific Region, a total of 650 million are PWDs, which is 15 percent of overall regional population. Moreover, disasters create a new number of PWDs. The UNISDR global survey in 2013 found that only 20 percent of PWDs could evacuate immediately without difficulty in times of disaster. Early warning public service announcements are often issued in formats and language that are not accessible to them. The International Day for Disaster Reduction held on October 13, 2013 revealed that the needs of PWDs are ignored, neglected in official planning. On the other hand, one half of PWD respondents expressed they would like to participate in community disaster management.
A Disaster-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DI-DRR) program basically builds on previous international understandings. For one, there is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action and Biwako Plus Five towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. Of the ten goals agreed on, Goal 7 refers to ensuring disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction and management. Specifically, Goal 7’s target is to strengthen disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction planning and the sub-target is strengthen implementation of measures to provide timely and appropriate support to persons with disabilities (PWDs) in responding to disasters.
The Incheon Strategy is a regional framework that guides policy making and action in the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022. Its overall purpose is the improvement of the quality of life and fulfillment of the rights of persons with disabilities. It derives inspiration from the above international frameworks. The Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (the Incheon Strategy) was adopted by Governments at the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003-2012, held at Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 29 October to 2 November 2012. It was subsequently endorsed by all 62 Governments of the ESCAP membership through Commission resolution 69/13 of 1 May 2013.
Furthermore, several articles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provide that measures be undertaken to ensure the protection and safety of PWDs in situations of risk, such as armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies, and occurrences of natural disasters (Article 11); provide accessibility for PWDs to facilities and services (Art. 9); and that international cooperation and programs be inclusive of and be accessible to PWDs (Art. 32).
There have been a number of countries (States Parties) which have implemented the CRPD. So far, the reports from some States Parties like China and Mongolia show success – in a limited scale though regarding Art. 11. What is more revealing is that little work has been done in involving PWDs in planning and preparedness activities.
For States Parties intending to strengthen their DI-DRR agenda, inclusiveness means that a universal design be adopted in designing products, environments, programs, and services so that they may be safe for everyone. It also entails investing in DI-DRR by allocating resources under the overall umbrella of the social sector (education, health, and social protection). Investing in training to increase the awareness of PWDs through an intensive information, education, and communication campaign, and further investment in training to enhance and strengthen their capacity in helping themselves and in helping others would be the appropriate roles for higher education institutions (HEIs) and scientific and research institutions.
Pakistan announced its first “National Policy on the issue of disability” in 2002 which defined disability as: “A person with disabilities means who, on account of injury, disease, or congenital deformity, is handicapped in undertaking any gainful profession or employment, and includes persons who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, and physically and mentally disabled”. Earlier, systematic care of disabled persons was initiated in 1981 when “Disabled Persons' (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance” was promulgated. Further, Special Citizens Act, 2008 seeks to provide the accessibility to disabled citizens at every public place, with regard to allocation of seats in public transports, provision of facilities on footpaths for wheelchairs and blind persons. The act also binds concerned authorities to take necessary steps to provide maximum facilities on footpaths for the wheel chairs and blind persons. Under the law, special persons should be given priority while crossing the roads and traffic police should be responsible for its implementation.
The Pakistan Census Organization (PCO) in its 1998 national population census has provided data about disability under seven categories: Crippled; Insane; Mentally Retarded; Multiple Disability, Blind; Deaf, Mute and Others2. According to the Census data, the Persons with Disabilities constituted 2.49 per cent of the overall population. Data reveals that 55.7 per cent of disabled people are found in Punjab, followed by 28.4 per cent in Sindh, 11.1 per cent in NWFP, 4.5 per cent in Baluchistan, and 0.3 per cent in Islamabad. However, National Disaster Management Act of 2010, also known as an Act to provide for the. Establishment of a National Disaster Management System for Pakistan is also silent on the Disability Inclusion Disaster Risk Reduction.
Based on the international understandings and implemented DI-DRR programs in different countries, the Seminar is aims to advocate and disseminate knowledge that the persons with disabilities are included in baseline studies, inclusive early recovery response – building more resilient communities, supporting inclusive coping strategies, shifting from relief to resilience.
The outputs and learning from the Seminar would be shared and disseminated through the linkage and networks that academe may have with other institutions/agencies whether public or private. This is to spread the word of DI-DRR and that PWDs have a role to play in the preparedness of communities for disasters.