Inclusive Education

The G3ICT Model Policy for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Persons with Disabilities focuses on how ICTs can be used to support the implementation of the CRPD, specifically articles 9 (accessibility), 21 (freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information), and 24 (inclusive education) of the CRPD (7). The Policy states that “access to ICTs that support participation in learning opportunities for learners with disabilities is…an international policy imperative” (10). This Model Policy also cites UNESCO’s 2009 definition of inclusive education: “inclusive education is a process of strengthening the capacity of the education system to reach out to all learners…As an overall principle, it should guide all education policies and practices, starting from the fact that education is a basic human right and the foundation for a more just and equal society” (10). I found interesting that there are many international frameworks/initiatives that call for inclusive education, such as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1960 Convention against Discrimination in Education, and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, yet, inclusive education is not universalized. I understand that progress is not simple, but I would think that further progress should be made. This leads me to ask: 1) How do we hold nations accountable when they commit to implementing an international framework? 2) Is there a system of checks and balances? 3) Are there consequences for not following through on commitments?

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Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Risk Management

This week’s readings pointed to important frameworks and forums on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster risk management (DRM): the Sendai Framework, the Dhaka Declaration, the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP), and the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Each of these frameworks/forums are interrelated and support the goals of one another. However, I found that most of these frameworks/forums mostly referenced the Sendai Framework as the basis for much of their work. The Sendai Framework builds on the Hyogo Framework for Action (Sendai Framework 12) and one of its goals over the next 15 years is to substantially reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods across many areas of life for persons, business, communities and countries (Sendai Framework 12). The Framework notes that achieving the above stated outcome requires integrated and inclusive leadership in the participation and implementation processes (Sendai Framework 12). Of note in the Sendai Framework is its mention of persons with disabilities and universal design, an initiative that supports the needs of persons with disabilities. The fourth guiding principle of the Sendai Framework is to promote inclusion of those “disproportionately affected by disasters” in DRM, calling for the recognition of persons with disabilities among other marginalized and vulnerable groups (Sendai Framework 13). The Dhaka Declaration on Disability and Disaster Risk Management was adopted in 2015 at the Dhaka Conference on Disability & Disaster Risk Management. Hosting this conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh was meaningful as Dhaka has experienced many unfortunate disasters themselves, such as the 2012 garment factory fire and the seasonal monsoons that bring immense flooding. Important points highlighted in the Declaration include the common theme that data on disability is limited (Dhaka Declaration 1). Additionally, I found surprising and sad that while the exposure of persons, properties, and livelihoods globally to disasters has increased more rapidly than our ability to reduce both risk and vulnerabilities (Dhaka Declaration1). The GP 2017 was held in Cancun, Mexico and its Leaders’ Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction report mentions ‘vulnerable development’ and ‘vulnerable poor,’ but makes no mention of ‘disability’ or ‘persons with disabilities.’ I found this surprising and disappointing. The GFDRR helps with the implementation of the Sendai Framework by integrating DRM and climate change adaptation into development strategies and investment projects. I am interested to learn more about the GFDRR’s inclusion of persons with disabilities in their decision-making on funding. 

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