International Day for DRR - Inclusion is key to resilience

European Disability Forum (EDF) recognises International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2021, by highlighting the need for participation of persons with disabilities in building resilience. Recent events (including COVID-19 and flooding) have reminded us that persons with disabilities are always among those who are most at risk and that this applies in Europe and in lower-income parts of the world. EDF calls for governments to respect the Sendai Framework and to fulfill their legal obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). We ask to, by prioritiseing the development and implementation of fully inclusive disaster risk reduction strategies, and meaningfully engage with organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) to achieve this.

Review and toolkit

As we approach the European Forum for DRR, which is in November this year, EDF is working on the first-ever review of disability-inclusive DRR policy and practice in the 55 countries in Europe and Central Asia. This review will be released in the coming weeks, and as well as providing a baseline of information for this region, the intention is also to provide a springboard towards the Global Platform for DRR 2022 and to support consistency of reporting on inclusion from other regions of the world. As well as a review, EDF is producing a disability inclusion reference guide to tools for DRR practitioners. These resources will be released soon – watch this space.

What do we know so far?

We are aware that several European countries have positive examples of disability-inclusive DRR. These include inclusive policies and some clear cases where DPOs are engaged in decision-making. Some of these relationships are informal, and at least two countries have DPO representatives engaged formally as part of the working groups at the national level for disaster management.

However, what is clear is that these good practice examples are the exception, rather than common practice, and are often the result of dedicated action of individuals rather than being institutionalised in official systems. What is extremely striking is that – so far – we have found no example of systematic data disaggregation by disability in national information systems on DRR. What this means is that countries do not know and understand their populations, and this is clearly a large part of the reason for the disproportionate impact experienced by persons with disabilities in crisis situations.

How can you get involved?

Now is the time to register for the European Forum for DRR or other global regions (November 2021), as well as the Global Platform for DRR (May 2022). But as well as influencing these international events, it is essential for DPOs and local/national government departments to communicate and collaborate on an ongoing basis. Only by working together, sharing skills, knowledge, and resources, can we achieve a society that is truly risk-resilient and fully inclusive of everyone. #OnlyTogether #DRRday

For more information, and to join our advocacy activities, please contact