Breaking Barriers: Unveiling a Revolutionary Inclusive Strategy

The 10-year Disability Inclusive Resilient Development Strategy is nearing its final stages of completion.

This proposed strategy was the centerpiece of a three-day regional conference in Lautoka, where organizations for persons with disabilities and stakeholders collaborated to discuss its development.

Spearheaded by the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) with support from the UN Women Fiji Multi Country Office, the draft strategy outlines strategic actions and key areas aimed at achieving disability inclusion and equity within climate and disaster resilience efforts in the Pacific.

UN Women, through its Women’s Resilience to Disasters (WRD) Program, is offering both technical and financial support to ensure the strategy is gender-responsive, aligning with regional commitments on gender equality, disaster risk management, and climate resilience.

UN Women regional program manager Naheed Ahmed emphasized that through the WRD Program, UN Women supports key regional commitments on disaster risk reduction, climate change, and resilience in Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

“Our core support ensures that the implementation of regional commitments is gender-responsive and inclusive, recognizing the role of women as change agents and leaders whose voices and agency shape resilience-building efforts,” said Ms. Ahmed.

PDF outgoing CEO Setareki Macanawai stressed the importance of ensuring equitable participation of persons with disabilities from the strategy’s inception through to its implementation and evaluation.

“Exclusion is costly, and disasters do not discriminate,” said Mr. Macanawai. He further highlighted the need for genuine, meaningful, and sustained partnerships with stakeholders to ensure that no one is left behind during natural disasters, particularly persons with disabilities who often face the greatest marginalization.

“The vision of a truly disability-inclusive Pacific cannot be achieved without the help of partners, considering that the Pacific is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. This strategy is a stepping stone in ensuring disability inclusion and equity within climate and disaster resilience. It is my hope this strategy will ensure a point of no return for the inclusion of persons with disabilities so that gains made are irreversible,” he added.

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