Participants to the round table at the EHF 2023 | © B. Bouniol / HI
HI participated on March 20th to a round table organised by DG ECHO in Brussels during the European Humanitarian Forum (EHF).
It is estimated that people with disabilities account for 16% of the world's population, or nearly 1.3 billion people*. They are among the most marginalised and exposed populations in emergencies, due to the multiple barriers that become risk factors in humanitarian crises.
The objective of this round table, entitled "From commitments to Action: Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Response", was therefore to raise awareness on the barriers and risk factors encountered and to promote the implementation of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, in order to reduce risk factors. The IASC Guidelines place persons with disabilities at the centre of humanitarian action, both as actors and as affected persons.
The session focused on the main challenges identified in humanitarian contexts, such as barriers and ensuring sufficient space for capacity building on the IASC Guidelines, increasing cooperation between local Organisations of Persons with Disabilities and other humanitarian actors, and the lack of funding.
The debate was moderated by a representative of DG-ECHO** and brought together speakers with and without disabilities from different backgrounds. This provided concrete examples from crisis-affected countries and allowed lessons learned and good practices sharing. Among the panellists, Henry Swaka Legge, former HI staff member, also spoke on behalf of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
This practical and operational session, in which HI was represented by its Inclusive Humanitarian Action specialist Ulrike Last, helped identify gaps and suggested concrete recommendations for donors and humanitarian actors.
* Source: World Health Organization.
** Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.