Launch of the IASC Guidelines on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action

Published Date

A boy with the lower part of one leg missing walks with crutches down the side of a tented camp

As the culmination of the work of the IASC Task Team on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, the IASC Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities have been launched in New York on 12 November 2019. Read the Guidelines. 

The launch of the Guidelines was welcomed by the Under-Secretary General and UN Secretary-General's Advisor on Policy, Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez (remarks here) and Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), Mr. Mark Lowcock (remarks here) among the speakers were the following persons with disabilities: Ms. Robinah Alambuya from Uganda and Ms. Mia Farah, who shared their personal experience during humanitarian crises (Ms. Alambuya's remarks here). Over 120 participants, representatatives of member states, humanitarian and development actors and persons with disabilities and their representatives organizations attended the high-level launch event.

The Guidelines aim to ensure that all phases of humanitarian action are disability-inclusive. They emphasize that persons with disabilities should not only be receipinents of humanitarian assistance, but they should be included as actors in humanitarian response. They are the first humanitarian guidelines to be developed with and by persons with disabilities and their representative organizations together with traditional humanitarian stakeholders. The Task Team membership spanned UN agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs), among others, and includes Member States as observers. The Task Team was led by three co-chairs from: Humanity & Inclusion (formerly known as Handicap International), the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and UNICEF.

The Guidelines were completed and submitted for endorsement to the IASC Secretariat in July 2019. They have undergone an extensive consultative process and reflect the contributions of more than 600 stakeholders from both the humanitarian and disability sectors through in-person and online consultations. They complement and build on existing humanitarian standards and guidelines and are aligned with core human rights frameworks, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The guidelines will assist humanitarian actors, governments and affected communities to coordinate, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate essential actions that foster the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian action, resulting in the full and effective participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities and changing practice across all sectors and in all phases of humanitarian action.

The next phase will focus on system-wide dissemination and implementation of the Guidelines.

In order to support the uptake of the Guidelines and promote learning by example, the Evidence Gathering Working Group of the IASC Task Team on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action collected, reviewed and approved examples of good practices. Thanks to financial support from Australia and the European Union Humanitarian Aid, this work, plus additional examples from field projects from CBM, Humanity & Inclusion and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) have now been gathered into a report (available here), launched on the occasion of the 2019 International Disability Day. Through 39 examples of inclusive field practices in 20 countries, this document shows what deliberate and proactive action is required to ensure that persons with disabilities from all constituencies are systematically included and meaningfully participate in humanitarian preparedness, response and recovery as well as in DRR contexts. Note that the report does not provide technical guidance, but is meant to complement to IASC Guidelines by drawing lessons from field practices.

 

Contact

Ms. Sien Andries

co-Chair, IASC Task Team on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action
Email: s.andries@hi.org

Ms. Kirstin Lange

co-Chair, IASC Task Team on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action
Email: klange@unicef.org

Ms. Elham Youssefian

co-Chair, IASC Task Team on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action
Email: eyoussefian@ida-secretariat.org

IASC secretariat

Email: iasccorrespondence@un.org