Announcement Archive

Expert Group Meeting on Mental Well-being, Disability and Disaster Risk Reduction

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

story from Tokyo Development Learning Center

The United Nations University International Institute of Global Health (UNU-IIGH) and Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in close collaboration with the World Bank Tokyo Development Center (TDLC) and the National Institute of Mental Health, Japan, organized the Expert Group Meeting on Mental Well-being, Disability and Disaster Reduction, in Tokyo, Japan, in November, 2014.

During and after disaster, people experience mental health and psychosocial distress and this plays key role in determining quality of life, resilience, and effectiveness of preparedness, recovery and reconstruction. In addition, persons with mental or intellectual disabilities tend to face multiple and severe barriers in disasters. However, mental well-being and disability has long been neglected in disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.

In the Expert Group Meeting, overview of issues, trends and international norms and standards, as well as good practices and lessons learned from different countries, related to mental well-being, disability and disaster risk reduction were discussed.

If we are to achieve sustainable human development which leaves no one behind, it is necessary to prioritize mental health and psychosocial well-being of all people including persons with physical, mental, intellectual, and sensory impairments. In addition, it is imperative to make disaster risk reduction measures inclusive of disability not leaving persons with mental or intellectual disabilities behind.

In this regards, the Expert Group adopted below recommendations for outcomes and follow-up of (1) Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015, (2) follow up of the 3rd High-level Meeting on Disability and Development, and (3) the Post-2015 Development Agenda/Sustainable Development Goals which will be adopted in 2015, and other relevant international and national frameworks.

The outcome document will be published.

Key Recommendations

1. Ensure DRR policies & programmes always include “mental well-being and disability” as a priority
2. Add a target and indicators on “mental health and psychosocial well-being” in DRR
3. Don’t leave behind “persons with mental or intellectual disabilities” in DRR  
4. Develop guidelines on mental well-being and disability in DRR
5. Include mental well-being and disability in all the efforts related to peace & security, development and human rights  
6. Establish multi-stakeholder working group on mental well-being and disability in the UN system