The power of inclusion: How UNDP is promoting disability inclusion in its disaster and climate resilience efforts to leave no one behind
Meet Mr. Jumadil, a man with a physical disability who lives in Sambik Elen, a remote village in West Java, Indonesia. In 2018, his village was badly affected by several earthquakes, which put Mr. Jumadil at a greater risk of being impacted disproportionately due to the lack of disability-inclusive disaster preparedness efforts at the community level.
By 2030, there could be more than one disaster a day, which will have a huge impact on persons with disabilities, who represent 16% of the world's population, with 80% living in the Global South. For this reason, disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction (DRR) is an essential priority for both developed and developing nations alike.
This week the Midterm Review of the 2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is happening in New York, with countries and other key DRR stakeholders invited to reflect on the findings and recommendations. The Sendai Framework is a key milestone agreement in the post-2015 development agenda, which explicitly recognizes persons with disabilities as contributing stakeholders to disaster risk reduction and resilience-building efforts. It sets inclusion as a guiding principle and emphasizes the need for a people-centered approach that considers disability, gender, age, and cultural perspectives in all DRR policies and practices. However, while over the past eight years, progress has been made on some Sendai priorities, countries are falling behind in translating their commitments to disability inclusion into practice.
Minimizing the human cost of disasters through the utilization of high-quality disaggregated data
In August 2018, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Mr. Jumadil’s village of Sambik Elen in West Nusa Tenggara, killing 564 people, destroying 73,000 houses and displacing over 400,000 people. Less than 8 weeks later, a second earthquake hit Indonesia, heavily affecting the remote Tuva village, with shocks causing a tsunami, province-wide landslides and a phenomenon of soil liquification, leading to the deaths of over 2,000 people, 4,400 serious injuries and 1,300 displacements.
Disasters cause devastating losses and may have long-lasting impacts on communities, especially on the most marginalized and underrepresented groups, due to a number of barriers and the lack of disaggregated data which is essential for effectively addressing underlying risks as part of disaster prevention and preparedness efforts.
UNDP’s DX4Resilience project in Indonesia, supported by the Government of Japan, aims to address this issue by collaborating with persons with disabilities like Mr. Jumadil and developing digital platform for disaster risk assessment using high-quality data that considers disability, sex, age, socio-economic status, and other important identity factors. This approach facilitates a better understanding and effective management of disaster risk.
All-of-society approach: From recovery to resilience
The Sendai Framework emphasizes the importance of an "all-of-society" approach to disaster risk reduction, and the DX4Resilience project aligns with this principle by adopting bottom-up strategies for data collection.
Sambik Elen and Tuva were selected as pilot locations for the geospatial risk assessment using the InaRisk system. The project team embraced inclusivity by actively seeking the participation of individuals with disabilities as surveyors, like Mr. Jumadil.
The DX4Resilience project expands across rural villages of Indonesia piloting digital transformation and supporting development of digital skills of persons with disabilities. Often as found in the project, “persons with disabilities are left behind in education, and there is a digital divide.”
Consequently, identifying individuals with disabilities who possessed the necessary literacy to conduct the surveys posed a challenge. To address this issue, the DX4Resilience project provided specialized training to individuals from these villages, which contributed to narrowing the digital literacy gap. The project enabled active participation of persons with disabilities by providing reasonable accommodation (e.g., personal assistants to accompany the surveyors throughout the village) based on individual requirements.
“After participating in this project, I now have the knowledge to save myself and my family if disasters happen.” – Mr. Jumadil
In the DX4Resilience project, all data collectors were trained to use the Washington Group Questions, a useful tool for collecting data on functioning difficulties. Additionally, the project produced household-level questionnaires with a section dedicated to collecting disability data.
Seven years of the Sendai Framework implementation: How far have we come?
Disasters are devastating for everyone, but persons with disabilities continue to be among those most affected. By including persons with disabilities in all disaster risk reduction efforts and accounting for them in risk data, we can prevent disproportionate impacts of disasters and ensure that no one is left behind.
As we discuss the progress of the Sendai Framework Midterm, it is crucial to acknowledge the strides made and shift our focus towards the future. It is essential to intensify our efforts to ensure that all disaster risk reduction and resilience-building initiatives are inclusive and encompass the full diversity of persons with disabilities.