Rationale for a Pacific blue print for comprehensive accessibility standards

Rationale for a Pacific blue print for comprehensive accessibility standards

Persons with disabilities in the Pacific countries are among the poorest and marginalized members of their communities and face deep levels of stigma and discrimination. Women and girls with disabilities are doubly disadvantaged due to intersecting identities based on gender and disabilities

PDF Chief Executive Officer, Setareki Macanawai

CONTEXT

Persons with physical disabilities require a seamlessly accessible physical environment to both the internal as well external environments and public transport system for real inclusion. Like the plumbing system, a break in accessibility of the physical environment at one point renders the entire system inaccessible. An accessible environment enhances the independence and autonomy of persons with disabilities and promotes inclusion and independence. It is a principle and a central obligation of states under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

OBJECTIVES

  • Support national Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) to carry out accessibility audit of key public services buildings, transport facilities and government websites.

RESULTS

  • During the time of the project, DPOs involved carrying out an audit in a diversity of services and facilities open to the public across countries (Church, Ministry, Market, Supermarket, Airport, Marine services and ministries websites).
  • Tuvalu airport now has accessible toilets that can be used by wheel chair users.
  • Adequate signage in the terminal building and lower counters for wheelchair customers provide more convenient accessibility to immigration clerks and check-in staff.
  • Accessible ramp to the plane, which is clear investment to provide greater accessibility by wheel chair users.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Several countries have adopted in recent years laws and regulations paving the way for greater accessibility.
  • Regional exchanges and a reflection workshop took place in September 2018

TESTIMONY

Rationale for a Pacific blue print for comprehensive accessibility standards

Building on initial recommendations of the first technical multi-stakeholders meeting that took place in March 2017 which in part initiated this project and the second technical meeting organised in Suva in September 2018, with additional key participants, discussed the outcomes of the current project and agreed on ways forward. There was a consensus about the need to develop a Pacific ‘blueprint’ for comprehensive accessibility standards in support of a set of other relevant actions at regional level aligned with Goal 3 of the PFRPD[1].

"My reflections on auditing the Funafuti International Airport, it is very well planned and caters well for disabilities. Even though there little things that this building needs to improve, but on the whole this building is a step forward to disabilities in the campaign toward change on infrastructures in Tuvalu."

Taupaka Uatea – FUSI ALOFA

 

[1] Goal 3: Leadership and Enabling Environment. Develop leadership and an enabling environment for rights-based disability inclusive development. Outcome via: Regional model legislative provisions are developed to guide national development of CRPD compliant legal frameworks.