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  • Disability and disasters: the importance of an inclusive approach to vulnerability and social capital

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Disability and disasters: the importance of an inclusive approach to vulnerability and social capital

Source(s):  Sightsavers
United Nations Development Group (UNDG)

The World We Want, accepted under the "addressing inequalities" global thematic consultation - Call for proposals for background papers, Oct 2012:

This paper outlines the importance of applying a structural approach to vulnerability to disasters and presents evidence on the relationship between disability and disaster‐related risks in low and middle income countries. The paper is based on a comprehensive literature review of primary research and identifies four groups of structural factors acting as the pathways to increased vulnerability and inequality: (i) a lack of information and knowledge of disability issues among governments and relief organizations; (ii) exclusion of persons with disabilities from disaster management and relief; (iii) inaccessibility of physical environments, preparedness measures, shelters and relief aid; and (iv) stigma and discrimination. It is followed by evidence of the benefits of disability‐inclusive approaches in resource‐poor settings.

Recommendations arising from the synthesis of evidence and disaster‐risk management tools described in the literature emphasise the importance of an inclusive approach; strengthening information systems and building the capacity of disabled people’s organisations and networks. The paper concludes by stressing the importance of a disability‐inclusive focus in the post‐2015 development framework without which addressing structural inequalities, social exclusion and the rights of persons with disabilities in the disaster context will remain challenging.

This paper was submitted as part of a joint Civil Society/UN consultation, an open and inclusive conversation for civil society, academia, governments and the UN to discuss what the post-2015 development agenda should look like, co-led by UNICEF and UN Women with support from the Governments of Denmark and Ghana. The World We Want is a platform created by the United Nations and civil society to amplify people's voices in the process of building a global agenda for sustainable development.

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  • Disability and disasters: the importance of an inclusive approach to vulnerability and social capital
  • Publication date 2012
  • Author(s) Smith, Fred; Jolley, Emma; Schmidt, Elena
  • Number of pages 17 p.

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