© ONG Inclusiva

2020 Global Summit on Inclusive Management of Disaster and Disability Risk

Inclusive disaster risk management in the face of COVID-19

Disaster preparedness is important. It saves lives, livelihoods and assets. It is therefore all the more important that prevention reaches all people in a society, including those who belong to a minority or have a disability. Carlos Kaiser, CEO of ONG Inclusiva, who won the RISK Award in 2014, wants to draw attention to this issue during the Corona pandemic. His NGO organised the Global Summit on Inclusive Management of Disaster and Disability Risk for the first time with partners. The Munich Re Foundation supported as an endorsing partner.

From 27 to 29 October, around 25 speakers from all over the world presented their Lessons Learned from inclusive risk management in the face of COVID-19. While it was already difficult in the past to convince all relevant actors from politics and practice that people with disabilities should play a more significant role in the planning and implementation of risk management, this became even more difficult during the Corona crisis. German Parodi, Co-Executive Director of Partnership Disaster Risk, USA, explained that the lock-down that took place around the world was enormously important for people with disabilities. They often belong to risk groups. At the same time, however, communication and social exchange became extremely difficult,  which made it even more challenging for people with disabilities to be heard. This however is indispensable to promote understanding for groups that are not necessarily in the focus of regular risk planning. At the same time, the COVID-19 disease often has serious effects, as Carlos Kaiser points out. In at-risk groups, up to 30% of those affected can suffer severe consequences, which ultimately makes them disabled people. The summit served to keep the flag for people with disabilities high and to keep them visible in the challenging times of the pandemic.

In addition to health effects, the pandemic has an immediate effect on disaster risk management in general. Speakers at the summit stated that many disaster preparedness projects are currently suspended because work cannot be carried out on site or because the resources needed to fight the pandemic are tied up. This is also the case in the field projects of the Munich Re Foundation.

This is a risk for all people, since disasters and climate change will not wait, until we have solved the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time it also offers a chance for change. One of the demands made at the summit was that if we now fully restart DRR again, we should use the momentum and take the motto "Building Back Better" really seriously by better integrating people with disabilities. After all, this is also called for in the Sendai Framework for Action, the United Nations' guidelines for disaster reduction.

More information

About the Summit

The Summit was organised by ONG Inclusiva, Chile. Endorsing partners – besides the Munich Re Foundation – were UNICEF, Arbeiter Samariter Bund, Center for Disability in Development, BMZ Germany Global Initiative for Disaster Risk Management, and 13 more. According to figures from the organisers, the summit reached up to 27,000 people online via live streams and social media.
November 2020, Christian Barthelt (MRF)
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