Persons with disabilities are approximately two to four times more likely to die than the general population when a disaster occurs. Often, disability perspectives are not included in legal frameworks, policies and action plans for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and physical infrastructure and disaster response services do not incorporate universal design principles. Public service announcements are often issued in inaccessible formats, and shelters and other facilities often are not barrier-free.


During the past decade, the world has experienced an increase in the number of major disasters, and different populations – when exposed to similar risks of environmental and man-made disasters – are affected in different ways, as determined by a number of factors. Globally, more than one billion people or 15 percent of the world’s population live with some form of disability. Available data indicates that persons with disabilities experience disproportionately high rates of poverty and face exclusion and lack of equitable access to resources such as education, employment, health care and legal and support systems. Similarly, persons with disabilities, compared to the general population, face higher risks and are disproportionately affected by disasters. Persons with disabilities have unique contributions, often overlooked, to help reduce the risk of disasters and build resilient societies and communities.

Project: Sendai Statement

RI Work - DiDRR3

The Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (3WCDRR) took place from 14 to 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan. There, an agreement on a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction was adopted. However, In order to promote the importance of including disability rights in DRR negotiations, in April 2014, co-organized the Asia-Pacific Meeting on Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in coordination with the Nippon Foundation, the (TNF) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Together, they developed the Sendai Statement to Promote Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilient, Inclusive and Equitable Societies in Asia and the Pacific, which requestsgiven the higher effect of disasters on persons with disabilities – the explicit and systematic inclusion of disability dimensions into the post-2015 global disaster risk reduction framework, so that the resilience and chances of survival of all persons in the community are increased. The statement includes 14 specific actions to be taken by Governments, UN entities and development cooperation agencies, and 4 strategic action points for taking forward disability inclusion into the post-2015 disaster risk reduction framework. It solidifies the voice from 130 experts on disaster risk reduction and disability policy, as well as representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities from more than 15 countries.

The Sendai Statement

At the Third UN World Conference of Disaster Risk Reduction (3WCDRR), UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development Division (DSPD) organized a public forum entitled “Taking action toward a disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction framework and its implementation”. At the Forum, stakeholders reviewed and assessed existing policies and programmes, as well as the progress made and lessons learned for the advancement of disability inclusive disaster risk reduction at local, national, regional and international levels, drawing out concrete recommendations for the implementation of HFA2.

The Resolution 69/283 adopted by the General Assembly on 3 June 2015, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 included language specifically calling for a broader and a more people-centred preventive approach to disaster risk. “Disaster risk reduction practices need to be multi-hazard and multisectoral, inclusive and accessible in order to be efficient and effective. While recognizing their leading, regulatory and coordination role, Governments should engage with relevant stakeholders, including women, children and youth, persons with disabilities, poor people, migrants, indigenous peoples, volunteers, the community of practitioners and older persons in the design and implementation of policies, plans and standards.”