There is a need to build meaningful relationships and create enabling spaces that gain the trust of people living with disabilities.

Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO) Research and Policy Officer Josaia Osborne in his presentation at the 6th Pacific Regional Conference on Disability (Conference programme | Word doc) in Nadi, Fiji said a more proactive and inclusive approach is needed to ensure that those living with disabilities and other marginalised groups are not left behind.

The theme of the conference organised by the Pacific Disability Forum is  ‘From Recognition to Realisation of Rights, Furthering Effective Partnership for an Inclusive Pacific 2030 for Persons with Disability.’

Mr Osborne welcomed such forums to engage other stakeholders like PIANGO and other partners to discuss partnership commitments to advance the lives of people living with disabilities.

At the research symposium, Osborne highlighted PIANGO’s research publications Yadrayadravaki, Tracking Progress on Localisation – a Pacific Perspective and a baseline report on localisation in Vanuatu where it was evident that there is high level of resilience of local communities, due to the use of traditional knowledge for disaster preparedness and recovery.

Localisation, he said, refers to recognising, respecting and strengthening leadership by local authorities and the capacity of local civil society in humanitarian action, in order to better address the needs of affected populations and to prepare national actors for future humanitarian responses.

“Across these consultations, Pacific actors reflected on their localisation priorities and ways of tracking progress on localisation,” he said.

He said the Yadrayadravaki concept, which means being aware, alert or keeping vigil over something, such as during a disaster, together with the two research publications, are linked to the realisation of rights, that as Pacific islanders, they need to look out for one another, care for each other and share each other’s information in order to strengthen the capacity of persons with disabilities.

“We need to understand our roles and how we can demonstrate change towards a more locally-led humanitarian system in the Pacific and this is inclusive of ensuring that disability inclusion is embedded in any humanitarian response. This basically means that we need to consult people with disability in every aspect of humanitarian response,” Mr Osborne added.

He said through coordination and complementarity, there is a need for capacity strengthening to empower people with disability and direct funding to local NGOs, including disabled peoples’ organisations.

PIANGO is one of the three civil society representatives to the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP) Taskforce, the governing structure for the ‘Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific’ (FRDP), bringing together a taskforce consisting of different stakeholders who play an active role in building resilience for the Pacific region.

This news release was first published by PIANGO on 28 February 2019 at this link.

Participants at the 2019 Pacific Disability Conference held in Nadi, Fiji. Photo: PIANGO