Persons with disability are frequently the most affected by natural hazards, climate-induced disasters, and global health emergencies. People with disabilities make up for 16% of the world’s population and 80% of those living in the Global South. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 recognizes persons with disabilities as contributing stakeholders, emphasizing the need for inclusion in all DRR policies and practices.

A Global Survey on Persons with Disabilities and Disastersconducted, by the the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), in 2023 follows up a 2013 Global Survey. This allows for a better understanding about the development of inclusivity in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies over the past 10 years. The survey from 2023 spans a total of 6,342 responses from 132 countries, while the 2013 survey resulted in 5,717 responses from 137 countries.

The survey aimed to identify if persons with disabilities are prepared for potential disasters, whether early warning and risk information is available and accessible, if persons with disabilities are aware of DRR plans at national and local levels, and if persons with disabilities are participating in DRR decision-making and planning.  

The results show limited progress in disability inclusion over the past 10 years, with no significant differences across the regions.   

To accelerate the development towards a more inclusive DRR approach, the survey has developed 6 recommendations for action for Governments and DRR stakeholders:

  1. Governments must comply with international law, address the needs and include persons with disabilities in disaster planning.
  2. Dedicated leadership roles for disability experts in decision making is essential – persons with disabilities should be included in all policymaking and implementation for disaster resilience.
  3. Governments and DRR stakeholders must take urgent measures to ensure equity between persons with and without disabilities in all measures to reduce and prevent disaster risk.
  4. Governments and DRR stakeholders must take actions to better address intersectionalities and diversity in all aspects of DRR policy and practice.
  5. Governments and DRR stakeholders must prioritize disability inclusion as a key policy concern and a key objective for disaster risk reduction.
  6. Governments and DRR stakeholders must support rigorous applied and action-oriented research and learning to identify actions that can reduce disaster risk for persons with disabilities.

Click here to find more information and to download the full UNDRR report.