ADDC welcomes the Australian Government’s commitments to furthering inclusion of people with disabilities in international development and humanitarian work, set out as part of the Government’s involvement in this week’s Global Disability Summit in London.
Over one billion people in the world live with a disability, and people with disabilities in developing countries often face additional barriers and marginalisation, meaning they are overrepresented amongst the poorest of the world’s poor. Australia’s aid program has worked to address this through a bipartisan commitment to disability-inclusive development efforts since the first Development for All strategy for disability inclusion in Australia’s aid program was launched in 2009.
“These commitments set out by the Australian Government as part of the Global Disability Summit will continue Australia’s role in galvanising the international community around disability inclusive development,” said Lucy Hodson, Executive Officer for ADDC.
“In particular, funding a baseline review of disability practices within the United Nations and working with global stakeholders to develop a plan to strengthen the use of the Washington Group Questions for disability data continues Australia’s leadership on this issue. The latter is an area in which Australia has strong domestic expertise and represents a crucial step to ensuring there is internationally comparable data required to monitor progress made through the Sustainable Development Goals for people with disabilities.”
The announcement also includes commitments to initiatives within the Pacific, including a feasibility study into a regional approach to the procurement and distribution of assistive technologies and devices in the Pacific, and the situational analysis of experiences of Deaf people in the Pacific.
“These initiatives will meet the real and specific needs of people with disabilities in the Pacific, and align with the priority in the Australian Government’s Foreign Policy White Paper of stepping up our engagement in the Pacific,” said Ms Hodson.
In relation to other commitments included in the announcement, Ms Hodson responded:
- ADDC is pleased to see the allocation of specific funds for disability inclusion within the Government’s Syria Crisis and Humanitarian package, however given the prevalence of disability in all societies—particularly those affected by conflict—all humanitarian action funded by the Australian Government must include strong and adequately resourced disability inclusion aspects as a matter of course.
- ADDC welcomes the commitment to investing in building DFAT’s capacity regarding disability inclusion, and reinforce that this must include a focus on building capacity of staff across all of the Department as a cross cutting issue, not only those directly engaged on disability-focused work and programs. We look forward to the upcoming ODE evaluation on this point, and DFAT management’s response to this report.