For the first time, training is being held in a village setting in Papua New Guinea to ensure that in times of disaster, community members with disabilities are effectively supported.

This work brings the provincial, district and local-level governments together with civil society organisations, disabled persons organisations, the European Union, Pacific Community (SPC) and local community members.

The training is taking place this week (10 to 14 October) in a village situated about three hours from Port Moresby, made possible by the European Union through their Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific (BSRP) regional programme,  implemented by SPC.

The training will be supported by a provincial standard database that stores information on people with disability so it can be shared with other agencies at times of critical need.

As such, communities needing support in disaster must ensure there is increased resilience for people with disability to respond to disaster, and this work will support this.

Increased inclusion of the disability community into provincial development planning and budget and ownership will be part of the outcomes of the training, with establishment of a Provincial Coordination Committee on Disability. The Secretary of the Department of Community Development and Religion, Anna Solomon, will officiate at the training tomorrow (13 October).

She said, “Data survey collection is essential for people with disabilities and working in partnership with line agencies to provide essential services is critical. Ensuring people with disabilities are meaningfully included in all programmes, including disaster preparedness and response to ensure more lives are protected during these crisis situations, will assist the government to budget well and concentrate on areas or locations where persons with disabilities will be affected.”

The European Union Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Ioannis Giogkarakis-Argyropoulos, acknowledged progress that the Papua New Guinea government is making towards a disability-inclusive approach in its development.

“In a disaster-prone country like Papua New Guinea, training and awareness is key to promote understanding that people with disability must be adequately supported during disaster, to ensure the safety and resilience of entire communities and the environments in which they live.

“Ensuring that all parts of the community are included in effective disaster resilience is not only a fundamental human right but it can also go a long way to mitigate climate change related issues,” Ambassador Giogkarakis-Argyropoulos said.

SPC Project Manager for BSRP, Taito Nakalevu, said it was a privilege for SPC to  help build truly inclusive disaster preparedness and coordination which takes account of people with disabilities, and he commended this work as innovative and cohesive.

“We believe this is the first time that people with disabilities are being recognised at the village level in work such as this, which is critical to the long-term resilience in the region into the future,” Mr Nakalevu said.

It is anticipated a Provincial Coordination Committee on Disability will be established to continue this work in other village communities.

Media contacts:
Lavaioi Vele, PNG NDMO (BSRP Coordinator), Phone (675)73422793 | Email: [email protected]
Lisa Kinsgberry, Pacific Community (SPC), Phone: (679) 9252849 | Email: mailto:[email protected]
Neraemarimahu Haihavu, Delegation of the European Union to Papua New Guinea, Phone: (675) 308 2400 |Email: [email protected]

Background information:
The ACP-EU Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project (BSRP) is a €19.37million project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC).  The project’s objective is to reduce the vulnerability, as well as the social, economic and environmental costs of disasters caused by natural hazards, thereby achieving regional and national sustainable development and poverty alleviation in ACP Pacific Island States. Papua New Guinea is one of the countries supported.