IASC Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action: Asia Regional Consultation with GBV & Gender Actors Workshop Report, May 2018


In 2016, the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Working Group established a Task Team to develop IASC Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (herein referred to as “IASC Disability Guidelines”). The Task Team membership spans UN agencies, humanitarian actors, NGOs and organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and includes Member States as observers. The Task Team is co-chaired by the International Disability Alliance, Handicap International and UNICEF. Further details on the Task Team, including Terms of Reference and Work Plan, can be found on the IASC website: https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/iasc-task-team-inclusion-person... The Consultation Process for the Guidelines is currently underway, with regional consultations being conducted the Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, Africa and Latin America. Draft Guidelines will be piloted or tested in humanitarian contexts in the third quarter of 2018, and then finalized by the end of the year.

The development of IASC Disability Guidelines mark a significant step in advancing accountability for the inclusion of persons with disabilities within the inter-agency coordination mechanism. Ensuring non-discrimination requires that such guidelines be gender-sensitive, as well as relevant and appropriate to GBV actors working humanitarian settings globally. Humanitarian stakeholders met in 2017 for the Strategic Dialogue on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender Based Violence in Emergencies (co-hosted by the UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Office and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), highlighting as a key priority the engagement of Asia-Pacific GBV and SRH stakeholders in the IASC Disability Guidelines consultation process.

Building on these initial efforts in the region, the Women’s Refugee Commission, South Asia Disability Forum, UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Office and International Planned Parenthood Federations (IPPF), with support from the Australian Government, facilitated a consultation workshop with GBV and gender actors from the Asia region to inform the IASC Disability Guidelines development.

Objectives of consultation workshop This one-day consultation workshop brought together organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and humanitarian actors to:

• Priority areas for gender mainstreaming and GBV prevention and risk mitigation in the Guidelines.

• Collect promising practices and other relevant information to support the content development of the Guidelines.

• Identify how DPOs, gender and GBV actors in the region can contribute to later phases of the Guidelines development and roll-out process, establishing appropriate feedback mechanisms.

Please see Annex 1 for the list of participants, and Annex 2 for the Workshop Agenda.

This report summarizes the outputs of workshop activities and key recommendations for the IASC Disability Guidelines moving forward.

Recommendations for Overall Structure and Content of the IASC Disability Guidelines

All workshop participants stressed the importance of ensuring that the IASC Disability Guidelines are gender-sensitive, and relevant and appropriate to GBV actors working in humanitarian settings. To this end, more detailed and specific recommendations on the overall structure and content of the guidelines include:

IASC Disability Guidelines should include specific guidance relating to gender mainstreaming, GBV prevention and response and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) – Participants recommend that the GBV-related risks of persons with disabilities, especially those from marginalized and diverse groups, such as women and girls with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, are highlighted throughout the guidance. These risks should be highlighted not only in the GBV sub-sector guidance, but also across other sectors (e.g. forced sterilization of women and girls with disabilities should be raised also in the health chapter). Participants recommended gender-mainstreaming throughout the guidelines with attention to the participation, empowerment and leadership of women and girls with disabilities in decision-making, and the analysis of sex, age and disability disaggregated data in monitoring processes.

IASC Disability Guidelines should include minimum standards and simple, practical steps for nondisability specialists in resource limited settings – Participants recommend that minimum standards are accompanied by indicators and actionable steps for implementation. They suggest that “cheat sheets” should be developed providing sample assessment questions and actions that can then be adapted to local contexts. Such tools should be user-friendly and easy understand, with recommendations to consider infographics and other pictorial forms of communication for the guidelines.

IASC Disability Guidelines should include an accountability framework and implementation plan – Participants stressed that the implementation of the guidelines should be considered in the development process, including how it will be rolled out across each global cluster and adapted at country levels. Furthermore, the guidelines and the implementation plan should link to and integrate with the implementation of other IASC Guidelines, such as the IASC GBV Guidelines. Finally, the IASC Task Team should consider early what type of monitoring body is required to ensure implementation at field levels.

Please see Annex 3: Our Expectations for the IASC Disability Guidelines for the raw data collected during this workshop activity.

Recommendations on Gender Mainstreaming in the IASC Disability Guidelines

Participants referred to the checklists for integrating gender into each stage of the humanitarian program cycle from the IASC Gender Handbook, identifying specific actions that should be integrated into the IASC Disability Guidelines.

Importance of gender mainstreaming in preparedness (including DRR and DRM) sections of the IASC Disability Guidelines – Participants stressed the importance of gender mainstreaming across preparedness efforts to strengthen understanding among humanitarian actors of the intersection of gender and disability; to build the capacity of DPOs on gender in humanitarian action; and to foster leadership of women and girls with disabilities in humanitarian response.

Prioritize the leadership and participation of women and girls with disabilities and marginalized groups – DPOs can support humanitarian actors to conceptualize, monitor and evaluate the needs of persons with disabilities even before disasters happens. The leadership and participation of women and girls with disabilities, including those from more marginalized groups, must be prioritized across all stages of the humanitarian program cycle. This includes setting criteria for women with disabilities to be represented in needs assessment and strategic planning teams, and that resources for local and national organizations (including DPOs) reach organizations of women with disabilities and those representing persons with intellectual disabilities and psychosocial disabilities.

Collect and analyze sex, age and disability disaggregated qualitative and quantitative data – The collection and analysis of sex, age and disability disaggregated data should be undertaken in multiple phases of the humanitarian program cycle:

  • In preparedness to support the establishment of gender sensitive baseline data, particularly within health development programs and projects, allowing for better recognition and response to the needs of persons with disabilities across the life-cycle.

  • In the needs assessment and analysis to ensure that the different risks, needs and capacities of women, girls, men and boys with disabilities, as well as female and male care-givers, are reflected in response planning.

  • In implementation and monitoring of access to services and assistance to determine which women and girls with disabilities were effectively reached, those who were not, and why.

  • In operational peer review to document the equal participation of women and men (and girls and boys, where applicable) with disabilities and evaluate impacts on women, men, girls and boys with disabilities and their care-givers.

Data collection and analysis should also include participatory approaches for qualitative data collection, ensuring that persons with disabilities are included in age and gender appropriate focus group discussions and key informant interviews.

Participants also raised the need for disability to be integrated into the gender with age marker providing another tool for gender and disability sensitive program planning, resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation.

See Annex 4: Actions to Integrate Gender into IASC Disability Guidelines by Stages of the Humanitarian Program Cycle.

Recommendations on GBV Prevention and Response in the IASC Disability Guidelines Participants split into groups to review and provide feedback on the different sections of draft 1 of the GBV sub-sector guidance. Recommendations are summarized in the table below.

As prioritization of content may be necessary in the future, participants were also asked to identify the three sections that they perceive as being most important to GBV actors, allowing prioritization of sections into most important (green), moderately important (orange) and least important (red).