The Pacific Disability Forum in partnership with the Vanuatu Disabled Peoples Assembly (the National Organisation of Persons with Disabilities) will be holding a Side Event which is a Disability Stakeholder Dialogue with the theme “Towards a Disability Inclusive Vanuatu Society.” The dialogue is being organised at the margins of the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting to take place in Port Vila from Wednesday 10th to Friday 12th of August.
In this dialogue, speakers will reflect on the progress and also discuss avenues to better work together to progress disability inclusive development in Vanuatu, discuss opportunities, address barriers and co-create solutions to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in Vanuatu. The Acting Deputy High Commissioner for Australian High Commission, Mr. Frederick Jean will open the stakeholder meeting with special remarks from Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha, United Nation Resident Coordinator to Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu who is also present in Vila to attend the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting. The stakeholder dialogue will be closed by the New Zealand High Commissioner, Ms. Nicola Simmonds.
The Pacific Disability Forum will set the scene with discussion at the regional level and canvassed by update and context to date by the Vanuatu Disability Promotion and national coordinator Ms. Nelly Caleb, looking at the progress over the 14 years after Vanuatu ratified the UNCRPD. Other stakeholders such as the National Organisation of Persons with Disabilities (VDPA), Government Focal Points as well as humanitarian partners also providing will be present at the dialogue.
Vanuatu plays a significant role in disability inclusion in the Pacific as it was the first Island state to ratify the Un Convention of the rights of persons with disabilities on the 23rd of October 2008. Post ratification, in 2015, UNESCAP in partnership with the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat undertook a comprehensive gap analysis or review of Vanuatu’s 300 domestic laws including the Constitution, benched marked against all the articles of the UNCRPD. Vanuatu has also progressed in the area of national statistics and data and recently used the Washington Group Short Set of questions in its recent census in 2020. In May 2019, Vanuatu presented its first CRPD report to the UNCRPD committee in Geneva and was acknowledged for measures taken to implement the CRPD, however, the Vanuatu government also received key sets of recommendation to be implemented progressively and to be reported in the next cycle of reporting. This is crucial so that the rights of persons with disabilities are realized and to ensure that we uphold the dreams of the Sustainable Development Goals of ‘leaving no one behind’.
The Dialogue will be held this Tuesday 9 August from 8.30am – 12.30pm at the Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC) Conference Room.