Pacific Disability Forum

Press Release – Joint Statement with UN Agencies

Joint Press Statement - PDF and UN Agencies

Date: 17th June, 2022

Disability Inclusion remains a strong commitment of the Pacific Disability Forum and the United Nations in the Pacific as they work to ensure a stronger partnership for disability inclusive policies, programs and offices to promote pre-condition for inclusion.

This collective commitment has come out strongly during the UN Outcome Group 6 Validation Workshop in Suva today.

The workshop was attended by 19 UN agencies across four countries and allowed for the findings of disability access audits in these four countries – Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands – to be shared, and commitments for change were made.

With the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy as a guiding force, UN agencies in the Pacific worked closely with Organisations of Persons with Disabilities in the Pacific and the Pacific Disability Forum to audit the accessibility of the UN premises and websites in the four countries.

The Workshop provided feedback to the UN agencies and the leads on ways to improve accessibility for all persons with disabilities and promote disability inclusion in the UN.

Proving opening remarks was UN acting Resident Coordinator to Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, Levan Bouadze, who said the UN is committed to prioritizing inclusion to ensure that as the Pacific continues to develop, no one is left behind.

“These offices do not yet collectively meet the requirements to be able to say that we are fully disability inclusive, so I’m pleased that we are here today to take a step in the right direction and learn how we can collectively make our offices fully accessible,” Mr Bouadze said.

Speaking at the workshop, Martin Karimli Director ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries reiterated that they remain committed in closing the gap of inequality in the world of work remains our top priority and ILO will continue working with OPDs to make it happen.

Accessibility contributes to independence and dignity of persons with disabilities. It allows easy access to persons with disabilities to build environments and public transport systems as well as contributing greatly to communication and access to information. Accessibility is important to provide choices to persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others and it can make the environment better for everybody.

The Pacific Disability Forum works closely with 22 member countries and territories to advocate, engage and collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure an inclusive Pacific for all persons with disabilities. 

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Paradise Tabucala on paradise.Tabucala@pacificdisability.org.