International Day of People with Disabilities: civil protection and inclusion
The Civil Protection Department, through Abili a proteggere is working for an inclusive culture in ordinary and emergency
December 3 each year marks the International Day of People with Disabilities, a date dedicated to promoting rights and awareness-raising in civil society on encouraging fair participation and full involvement of all.
The Day was established in 1992 by the UN General Assembly to promote awareness of disability and the need for an inclusive society that offers equal opportunities to everyone: disability should not be seen as a limitation but as a kind of diversity to be appreciated and respected. Member States and the individual institutions and organizations involved are urged to intensify their efforts and concrete actions in this direction. The theme of the Day for 2023 is "United in action to save and achieve the Sustainable Development Objectives for, with, and by people with disabilities."
The most vulnerable people are often more exposed in case of an emergency. Therefore, they must be aware of the risks in their territory and prepare themselves to face an exceptional event. Civil Protection cannot leave anyone behind, which is why it promotes the participation of people with disabilities in identifying solutions that can encourage risk awareness in territorial communities, valuing the contribution of all those involved.
The Civil Protection Department shared this perspective and launched a project that has grown, Abili a proteggere over the years. It all started with a work inclusion initiative that developed with the active involvement of people with disabilities in a project dedicated to the study, research, and planning of initiatives on the relationship between disability and civil protection. The work is developed along several lines: risk awareness, accessible information, training, civil protection planning and exercises, and monitoring of legislation and initiatives on the territories. Most of the activities conducted within the Abili a proteggere project are illustrated on the dedicated website www.abiliaproteggere.net
2023 was a significant year regarding the theme of disability and civil protection; in fact, several important initiatives were carried out, in particular, the participatory planning project in Bagnara Calabra that focused specific attention on the most vulnerable population groups; the translation into LIS, the Italian Sign Language, of the I don't take risks campaign materials and the subsequent production of specific videos; and the participation, last September, in the EXPO AID in Rimini sponsored by the Minister for disabilities. Following this event, the Civil Protection Department was called upon to participate, as a permanent guest, in the National observatory on the conditions of people with disabilities, which is responsible for developing national policies concerning disability issues. In addition, in Decree-Law No 140 of October 12, 2023, "Urgent measures for the prevention of seismic risk related to the bradyseism phenomenon in the Phlegraean Fields area," a plan for communicating to the population concerning the strengthening and development of initiatives already launched in the affected area or the launching of new initiatives and an emergency plan to cope with the effects of the bradyseism phenomenon were included; in both documents, the Decree-Law indicates that the needs of people with disabilities should be taken into account.
Civil Protection, on the other hand, has a crucial role in ensuring the protection of all people in the prevention phase with adequate planning and accessible information and in emergencies with appropriate rescue measures. It is essential to promote an inclusive culture that addresses the needs and rights of people with disabilities in all spheres of society, including risk prevention and emergency management, to enhance the response capacity of local communities.