Breaking News: Transforming Pacific Disaster Resilience

The 10-year Disability Inclusive Resilient Development Strategy is approaching the final stages of completion.

The proposed strategy was the main topic at a three-day regional conference in Lautoka, where organizations for persons with disabilities and stakeholders collaborated on the framework’s development.

Spearheaded by the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) with the backing of UN Women Fiji Multi Country Office, the 10-year draft strategy delineated strategic actions and areas of change to achieve disability inclusion and equity within climate and disaster resilience in the Pacific.

UN Women, through its Women’s Resilience to Disasters (WRD) Program, is offering technical and financial support to ensure the strategy is gender-responsive, as part of broader efforts to implement regional commitments on gender equality, disaster risk, and climate resilience.

Naheed Ahmed, UN Women regional program manager, highlighted that through the Women’s Resilience to Disaster Program, UN Women is supporting crucial 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, recognising the role of women as change agents and leaders whose voices and agency shape resilience-building efforts,” said Ms Ahmed.

Setareki Macanawai, outgoing CEO of PDF, stressed the importance of a concerted effort in ensuring the equitable participation of persons with disabilities from inception through to implementation and evaluation of the strategy.

“Exclusion is costly, and disasters do not discriminate,” said Mr Macanawai.

“The Pacific Disability Forum needs genuine, meaningful, and sustained partnerships with stakeholders to ensure that no one is left behind during times of natural disasters, especially persons with disabilities who are often the most marginalized in society.

“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 crucial step in ensuring disability inclusion and equity within climate and disaster resilience.

“It is my hope this strategy will create a point of no return for the inclusion of persons with disabilities, making the gains achieved irreversible.”

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