Santiago de Cali progresses towards disaster risk management plan with an inclusion focus

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean
Santiago de Cali, Colombia, hacia la actualización de un plan de gestión de riesgos de desastres con enfoque hacia la inclusión de personas con discapacidad

The inclusion of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction strategies has become a central focus in Santiago de Cali, Colombia. The event, held on September 21 and 22, 2023, was organized in collaboration by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD), and the Municipality of Cali.

A total of 48 participants took part in the event, including members of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) and representatives of the visually, hearing, physically, and intellectually impairments communities. Additionally, the presence of the Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Secretariat and the Social Welfare Secretariat of Cali was noted.

The implementation of the Self-assessment Scorecard: Annex for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities tool led to participatory workshops where voices and proposals from OPDs and individuals were raised to enhance their inclusion in disaster risk reduction efforts within their municipality. As a result, 19 actions were identified to strengthen the inclusion of persons with disabilities in building Cali's resilience in the short and medium term. The next step involves integrating these indicators and actions into the update of Cali's disaster risk management plan.

One of the prominent messages emerging from these workshops was the necessity of developing differentiated actions through multiple channels to ensure the inclusion of all individuals, including persons with disabilities and their close-knit circles.
In the words of Miguel Sambrano, a member of the Association of the Deaf in Cali (ASORCALI), "I had the experience of the Popayán earthquake in 1983. Where were the early warning system alarms? They were nonexistent... That's why it is crucial to provide training, not only for the deaf but for all individuals with disabilities. Each one of us brings our unique diversity. Let's prepare for the future."

Fernando Aguirre, the Technical Coordinator of the Disability Program at the Welfare Secretariat of the Municipality of Cali, an accomplished business administrator, and a Paralympic athlete for Colombia, added, "The 'Making Cities Resilient 2030' (MCR2030) initiative and the Scorecard tool for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities are pivotal in raising awareness about the importance of including persons with disabilities in disaster risk management planning processes. Resilience isn't just about adapting to impending changes; it's also about being proactive and creating conditions to support persons with disabilities and their specific circumstances."

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