In February, we were invited to a consultation meeting by the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) in Brussels. They are currently working on a guidance paper to include persons with disabilities in the humanitarian actions they fund.
This paper follows the statement made by Commissioner Christos Stylianides during the 4th European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities. He announced that, starting in 2018 requests for proposals launched by ECHO, which funds the operations of humanitarian organisations on the ground, will highlight that applicants must include persons with disabilities in their actions.
ECHO will develop standards for addressing the needs of persons with disabilities in all EU-funded projects. Commissioner Stylianides also promised to consult persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in designing and carrying out these initiatives, in line with the principle of “Nothing about us without us”.
Marion Steff and Alexandre Bloxs attended the consultation on behalf of the European Disability Forum. About 20 participants provided inputs on the guidance paper structure. Some of the inputs were: the necessity to follow the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the importance of aligning to the Sustainable Development Goals and of using the Washington Group short set of questions to disaggregate data by disability.
Another consultation will be conducted in late April and the final paper will be published in September. The document is meant to be a “living document”. It will later be adjusted to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) guidelines, which are recommended to be developed in the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. The IASC guidelines will be published at the end of 2020.
Photo credit: Human Rights Watch