By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com
11 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Pacific Island governments have been urged to design disability inclusive approach to disaster risk management and climate change projects.
Katabwena Tawaka of the Pacific Disability Forum said it is important to include the most vulnerable groupings in the community in the integrated strategy for disaster risk management and climate change projects in the region.
“We need disability inclusive projects because it assists in developing resilient communities for the most vulnerable population and understand how persons with disabilities can contribute to a successful project,” Tawaka said.
He said persons with disability faced barriers that disadvantage them and makes them more vulnerable.
“Attitudinal barrier is the most common faced, including negative stereotyping of people with disabilities, social stigma and other forms of overt discrimination.
“It is not uncommon that disability is associated with cultural beliefs about sin, evil and witchcraft. People with disabilities often report that attitudes are the most disabling barriers of all,” Mr Tawaka.
He added that other barriers faced include physical and environmental, communication, policy and institutional barriers.
Adding that when formulating disability inclusive projects, it is important to consider a rights based approach to DRM and CC.
“It is important to recognize that people with disabilities have the same rights as others to health, education, water therefore when implementing programmes it is important to mainstream specific interventions to help meet these rights.”
It has been recommended that the following be considered for a disability inclusive disaster risk management and climate change project;
-collation of desegregated data that caters for all forms of impairment to best inform decisions for DRM&CC initiative
-understanding and working towards eliminating all forms of barriers in DRM&CC initiatives
-genuine partnership in working closely with persons with disabilities and their respective organisations that exists in most Pacific Island Countries as disability advisors to DRM&CC at all levels of programme.