The pacific regional strategy on disability a pacific response to the crpd
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the Pacific Regional Strategy on Disability A PACIFIC RESPONSE TO THE CRPD. Common challenges and lack of available resources at the national level warrants a regional approach to disability in the Pacific.

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the Pacific Regional Strategy on Disability A PACIFIC RESPONSE TO THE CRPD

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The pacific regional strategy on disability a pacific response to the crpd

the Pacific Regional Strategy on Disability A PACIFIC RESPONSE TO THE CRPD

The pacific regional strategy on disability a pacific response to the crpd

  • Common challenges and lack of available resources at the national level warrants a regional approach to disability in the Pacific.

  • The PRSD provides a strong rationale for regionalism by identifying specific areas where a cooperative regional approach will support national action.

  • The PRSD builds on work to date and takes a Pacific-specific approach.

  • The CRPD is the foundation for the PRSD



  • The PRSD is as a response to the Leaders 2009 Communiqué after their meeting in Cairns in Australia, including their expression of commitment to a regional approach to disability inclusive development.

  • The close relationship between PIFS, and the PDF enabled a collaborative approach to be taken to the development of clear action plans, roles and monitoring processes in relation to this relationship.

  • The effective working relationships between PIFS and multilateral agencies such as UNESCAP, ILO and UNOCHR, which have an active interest and engagement in disability issues, have ensured a coherent and inclusive planning process.



  • The development process

  • Since 2009, PIFS has been determining how best it can support Forum Island countries to meet the objectives included in PRSD

  • Resulting in a proposal prepared by the Disability Coordination Officer (DCO) at PIFS, endorsed by PIFS Secretary General, and submitted to AusAID in February 2011.

  • The proposal, based on the PRSD, reflected extensive planning about the role of PIFS in supporting Forum Island Country Governments in its implementation.

  • In March 2011, AusAID appointed a design specialist to work with PIFS to provide additional information to meet AusAID’s “quality at entry” requirements.

  • Discussions between the design specialist and the DCO in April 2011 revealed a number of additional ways to strengthen the proposal. This revised proposal document was then endorsed by PIFS.

Pacific regional context

Pacific Regional Context

  • Approximately 800,000 Pacific Island people with disabilities.

  • Recent census results and national surveys do not provide a clear and accurate picture of the situation of persons with disabilities

  • There is a need to improve quality research and data on the prevalence of disability and the issues affecting the lives of persons with disabilities in the Pacific region.

  • Inclusion International surveys in Kiribati in 2003-2004 and identified 4.36% of the population as living with a disability; while another survey in the island of ‘Eua in Tonga in 2007, showed a percentage of 13%. A similar survey in Samoa revealed an incidence of disability of 2.2%. The 1996 Fiji census included a question on disability and 12,000 or 2% of the population identified as having a disability.

The pacific regional strategy on disability a pacific response to the crpd

The Challenges

  • The number of persons with disabilities is increasing

  •  They face prejudice, discrimination and rejection.

  • Children with disabilities are consistently excluded from attending school

  • Health and welfare service provision is poor and largely inaccessible to persons with disabilities

  • Employment opportunities are few.

  • Implementation of services tends to be ad hoc, uncoordinated and poorly funded.

  • Governments are not making provision for disability services and inclusive policies in their budgets.

Women with disabilities

Women with disabilities

  • A recent UNDP study found that throughout the Pacific region, in both rural and urban areas, women and girls with disabilities face multiple and compounding forms of discrimination.

  • Despite some helpful laws, policies and systems of practice in some countries, women with disabilities are less educated, experience higher rates of unemployment, are more likely to be abused, are poorer, are more isolated, experience worse health outcomes and generally have lower social status.

  • Concern regarding women with disabilities is a priority area of the CRPD.

Pacific plan

Pacific Plan

  • At the 2003 Pacific Islands Forum, the leaders of Pacific Island countries endorsed the BMF as providing a set of goals for Pacific countries to work towards over the next ten years.

  • Pacific Island leaders adopted the Pacific Plan in 2005. The overall emphasis of the plan is to create stronger and deeper links between the sovereign countries of the region.

  • Disability progress and development is reflected in Initiative 12.5 of this plan. A disability desk has been set up in the Forum secretariat for the purpose of coordinating the development and progress of disability initiatives in the Forum island countries.

Forum leaders support

Forum Leaders support

  • In 2009 Forum Leaders reiterated their support for people with disabilities and reaffirmed the need for more attention to be directed to the most disadvantaged group who are among the poorest and most vulnerable.

  • They acknowledged that people with disability face many barriers to full participation in society.

  • Leaders further noted that the PRSD should focus attention on the need to address issues facing persons with disabilities in the Pacific,

  • To build greater awareness on the importance of allowing access to greater and more equitable opportunities to enhance their quality of life and full enjoyment of all inalienable human rights.



  • The PRSD was initially developed by the PIFS and the consultation process was well supported by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF), United Nations Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOCHR) and the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific (FPSI). Forum Island Countries (FICs) also provided input in November 2008 during a meeting for government disability focal points.

  • The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the New Zealand Aid Program (NZAID) participated in the 2010 meetings and provided significant feedback during the 2009 consultation process.

  • Inclusive in all these were the consultations done with disabled persons and their organisations at their regional meetings in Samoa in 2007, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Cook Islands in 2008; Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and Tuvalu in 2009.



  • The PRSD was formally endorsed at the Forum Disability Ministers’ Meeting (FDMM) in October 2009.

  • The ministers also endorsed the development of a detailed implementation plan and Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E) Framework which is contained within this document.

  • The report of this meeting was fully endorsed by the Leaders’ meeting in August in Vanuatu in 2010.

The purposes

The purposes

  • Support Pacific Island Forum member countries to protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities;

  • Provide a framework for the coordination of development partners, governments and civil society in building a disability inclusive Pacific; and

  • Strengthen commitment of all stakeholders towards implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other human rights instruments which/that relate to disability.

Thematic areas

Thematic Areas

  • The Strategy identifies thematic areas that would most effectively advance the rights of Pacific persons with disability and ensure their participation in national development processes. The proposed thematic areas are those that can be realistically addressed by countries.

  • Under each thematic area are selected indicative areas for actions designed to provide guidance to countries in regard to how they might address their own priorities and commitments.

  • These activities are also to facilitate coordination with other regional frameworks, such as the Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF), which includes students with special educational needs and inclusive education as a cross-cutting theme.

Thematic area 1 strengthen political leadership and an enabling environment

Thematic Area 1: Strengthen Political Leadership and an Enabling Environment

  • Advocate for the signing, ratification, implementation and monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

  • Advocate for the establishment of National Councils for Persons with Disabilities and advisory committees with clear terms of reference in all FICs

  • Develop and/or strengthen disability policy and legislation

  • Allocate funds in all key budget areas for disability inclusive policies and programs;

  • Encourage regional organisations to integrate disability issues into their mainstream programs

  • Work with Ministries of Education to encourage and promote inclusive education

  • Work with Ministries of Health, including increasing awareness of non-communicable diseases, accident prevention, avoidable impairments, rehabilitation and counseling

  • Build increasing awareness on disabilities; and

  • Advocate for the signing and ratification of the International Labor Organisation Convention 159 (ILO 159).

Thematic area 2 recognition and protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities

Thematic Area 2: Recognition and Protection of the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  • Advocate for the recognition of the human rights of persons with disabilities as reflected in the CRPD

  • Utilize national, regional and international human rights declarations and agreements to develop national policies and legislation for persons with disabilities

  • Collaborate with development partners for the sustainable funding of human rights training for persons with disabilities

  • Collaborate with major stakeholders to implement training on the human rights approach to issues facing persons with disabilities

  • Strengthen and support national human rights advocacy

  • Critically analyse indigenous rights and responsibilities frameworks to integrate with and harmonise with universal human rights principles.

Thematic area 3 strengthen partnerships coordination and collaboration

Thematic Area 3: Strengthen Partnerships: Coordination and Collaboration

  • Establish and/or strengthen communication and coordination between Governments and Disabled Persons Organisations

  • Ensure coordinated efforts between local, national and international development partners

  • Strengthen partnerships for the implementation of the regional strategy

  • Promote and support regional and national initiatives in the prevention of avoidable disability, in particular in addressing and raising awareness of preventable blindness; traffic injuries; sports and work place injuries and advocate for greater awareness of the relationship between non-communicable diseases and disabilities

Thematic area 4 disability inclusive development

Thematic Area 4:Disability Inclusive Development

  • Support Forum Island Governments to include disability-related concerns into:

  • National and sector planning and resourcing

  • Disaster planning including evacuation plans;

  • Food security

  • Impacts of climate change

  • Sports, recreation and cultural activities

  • Education and training

  • Accessibility provisions in building codes and infrastructure provision

  • National census, labour force and Household Income Expenditure Surveys

  • Employment policies

Thematic area 5 enhancing the central role of persons with disabilities

Thematic Area 5:Enhancing the Central Role of Persons with Disabilities

  • Recognise the central role of persons with disabilities and their organisations in addressing their issues

  • Support DPOs working with groups who are hard to reach effectively especially in isolated atolls and islands, disaster prone areas and those in inaccessible highlands

  • Advocate for the incorporation of disability issues in all national and regional policies and programs on gender, youth and other disadvantaged and vulnerable groups

  • Address the specific and different needs of youth, ageing segments of the population, men and women, and children with disabilities.

  • PIFS recognises that this area of work is more a role for PDF, so PIFS will support PDF’s efforts in this regard, as well as encourage Forum Island governments to collaborate with DPOs in country, as appropriate.

Thematic area 6 mobilisation of resources

Thematic Area 6:Mobilisation of Resources

  • Advocate for adequate allocation of funding for disability responses in the national budgets

  • Explore the feasibility of establishing a regional funding mechanism for specific disability issues

  • Encourage development partners to increase and sustain funding to support responses to disability

  • Where possible, encourage Forum Island countries to establish a civil service position with responsibilities for disability inclusive development work

  • Establish a central information database of skilled individuals and organisations available to provide technical support for disability responses.

  • While this has been agreed by Forum Island Ministers, PIFS recognises it may not be feasible in all countries for such a position to be dedicated entirely to DID responsibilities in the timeframe and within national resources.

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