Paper: Towards the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response – progress and remaining gaps

Paper details

Paper authors Oliver Wiegers
In panel on Disability Inclusion in Humanitarian Crises: Discourse, Implementation and Evidence
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


Despite significant policy progress, persons with disabilities remain disproportionately affected by humanitarian crisis and continue to face barriers in accessing essential humanitarian services and disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures. The endorsement of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (IASC Guidelines) in 2019 was a major step forward to provide DRR and humanitarian stakeholders with guidance on how to translate humanitarian policies and standards into concrete action.

Meaningful participation of persons with disabilities, especially through organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs), is a key element of the IASC Guidelines and shifts the focus from a perspective of vulnerability and powerlessness of persons with disabilities towards recognizing the importance of their active engagement throughout all stages of DRR and humanitarian response.

The paper analyses to which extent meaningful participation is already being put into place and which challenges occur for DRR and humanitarian actors as well as OPDs with the increasing consideration of actively engaging persons with disabilities. The findings show that most DRR and humanitarian actors have increased their awareness on the necessity to actively involve persons with disabilities, but concrete steps are rarely happening or remain inadequate. This is linked with the slow progress of building institutional capacities of OPDs.