In a series of side events to the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held recently in Bangkok, Thailand, The Nippon Foundation and other global organizations, including Rehabilitation International, DiDRRN, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), jointly called for the promotion of disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction to better help people with disabilities during emergencies.
Responding to their call, the ministers adopted the Bangkok Declaration (*1) that called for “giving attention to meaningful participation and positive contribution of at-risk groups such as persons with disabilities,” showing support of the global community for disaster risk reduction participated by people with disabilities. The organizers of the side event, including the Nippon Foundation, introduced to the parties concerned the “Sendai Statement (*2),” spelling out a set of recommendations, adopted at the Asia-Pacific Meeting on Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in April in Sendai, Japan.
In light of the fact that as compared to local population as a whole, about twice as many people with disabilities lost their lives during the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the Sendai Statement (*2) called for taking their viewpoint into consideration at every step of disaster risk reduction, including disaster prevention planning, drilling and sheltering. Mr. Monthian Buntan, a member of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and former member of the Thai Senate, told the side event, “People with disabilities can contribute to disaster risk reduction if they were guaranteed means of transportation, information and communication.” Ms. Akiko Fukuda, Secretary-General, World Federation of the Deafblind, said, “With the development of technology, people with disabilities now can do a lot but that’s hardly enough. It is important that people should be bonded, not isolated, caring for each other.”
The Nippon Foundation and its partners said they will call on the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction scheduled for March 2015 in Sendai to include disaster risk reduction conceived from the viewpoint of people with disabilities in a post-2015 global framework for actions to be adopted at the Sendai conference.
(*1) Bangkok Declaration-6AMCDRR
(*2) Sendai Statement to Promote Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilient, Inclusive and Equitable Societies in Asia and the Pacific: