Executive Summary

In the last five years, Pacific Island countries’ leaders have strengthened their commitments to tackle barriers faced by persons with disabilities, with most countries now having ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The adoption of the 2016-2025 Pacific Regional Framework for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PFRPD) represents another important step forward. PIC Governments have also prioritized empowering persons with disabilities as one of the issues that require collective attention in the 2017 Roadmap for Sustainable Development.

Those commitments have begun to translate into greater efforts and progress in terms of awareness raising, legal harmonisation, data collection, inclusive education, vocational training, and access to assistive devices, social protection, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response. Engagement with Organisations of People with Disabilities has significantly increased in many countries.

A key factor in this progress has been the unique and fruitful regional and multi-stakeholder collaboration between government, DPOs, regional bodies, UN agencies, and development and donor partners, including the sustained support of the Australian Government for disability inclusive development in the Pacific.

However, overall domestic resource allocation for the inclusion of persons with disabilities is still below 0.15% of the GDP for most countries. There remains a strong reliance on ODA to invest in developing required disability-specific and disability inclusive services. Countries often prioritise few issues and have not yet adopted a whole-of-government approach to inclusion. There is also a need for more effective regulatory changes across sectors and development of support services to enable significant improvement in the life of persons with disabilities and their families. While more can be done to make the most of existing resources, the intrinsic geographic, economic and institutional constraints faced by many countries are curtailing investments that would be needed to further decisive progress.

The Pacific Disability Forum and its members call on all countries to pursue their efforts to implement the CRPD and inclusive SDGs in close cooperation with DPOs. Considering the inherent constraints of many countries and competing priorities imposed by climate change, PDF calls also for deepening partnership towards an Inclusive Pacific 2030 notably through the formalisation of an efficient and innovative regional and multi-stakeholder mechanism in support of the PFRPD that would allow for mutualisation of investments, further coordination of technical assistance and gain in economy of scale in relation to procurement, development of human resources and access to services. 

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