FEEDBACK – Group of States Friends of the Charter revitalized at HNPW 2019

Posted by: on Feb 6, 2019 | No Comments

On 5 February, the “Group of Friends” of Member States supporting the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action organized a session on making humanitarian action inclusive of people with disabilities at the 2019 Humanitarian Networks and Partnership Week (HNPW) in Geneva.

Taking stock of progresses on disability inclusive humanitarian action at HNPW 2019

A packed room saw State, donor and UN representatives showcasing the work they are doing to implement their commitments on disability inclusive humanitarian action for persons with disabilities taken at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit and the 2018 Global Disability Summit. The event was co-hosted by Australia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Luxembourg, Norway, the European Union, Ecuador and Nigeria, first African country to endorse the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action.

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Chaired by Ambassador Sally Mansfield, from the Permanent Representative of Australia, participants heard introductory remarks by Ursula Mueller, OCHA Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, who stressed that OCHA will implement the commitments made on improving the collection and analysis of disability disaggregated data, and making humanitarian coordination tools more inclusive. Polish Ambassador Zbigniew Czech showcased exceptional support to making the situation of persons with disabilities in conflict visible in the Security Council, where an Arria Formula meeting was organised in December 2018. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Catalina Devandas talked about the UN system wide accountability and policy framework on disability that should be approved in May 2019, and UK Counsellor Dylan Winder showcased the expected next steps following the Global Disability Summit.

Change must happen in the practices of actors on the field!

Humanity & Inclusion’s Director for Protection & Risk Reduction Division, Flavia Stea Antonini praised the event as a clear sign of political engagement to keep the issue high on the agenda. Flavia highlighted that:

“Recent assessments and evidence collection by HI and partners show that the prevalence of persons with disabilities in some crisis contexts is higher than the common national average prevalence of 12- 15% and change of humanitarian practices remains to be fulfilled.”

On proposed ways forward, she stressed the need of continued advocacy and the creation of synergies and collaboration among advocacy initiatives and mechanisms. Moreover, she reiterated that change must happen in the practices of actors on the field.

For this, HI remains convinced that efforts should focus on strengthening robust and comparable data collection to make programming cycle inclusive; supporting capacity development through technical support and good practices exchanges; strengthening coordination among all stakeholders and the participation of persons with disabilities and their representative’s organisations, including and especially through the cluster system.