Development and human rights for all

Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD) Working Group on Haiti Reconstruction

During the major reconstruction that follows a large number of natural disasters, planners often miss opportunities to avoid recreating the exclusion of people with disabilities by adapting the design of the built environment. It is far more cost-effective to modify the plans for a new building at the outset than to adapt an existing building to make it accessible. Depending on the type of building, providing full access facilities from the outset costs an average additional 1.12 percent.

For these reasons the GPDD started a Working Group on Haiti Reconstruction.  The aim of this WG is to ensure that reconstruction efforts after Haiti earthquake involve people with disabilities during all stages and that all rebuilt and newly built infrastructure is fully accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

The participants of the WG are currently working on a Toolkit on Inclusive Reconstruction. A draft of the First Chapter on Physical Environment is available in the GPDD website.

Other 6 Chapters will be released soon, these Chapters will deal with: 

2. Livelihood, Employment and Social Protection;

3. Transportation and Communication;

4. Health; 

5. Education;

6. Capacity Building of DPOs;

7. Programming and Operational Issues.

In addition, the GPDD Working Group organized several events in order to mainstream disability in the reconstruction process:

 "Reconstruction for All" during the International Donors' Conference towards a New Future for Haiti, New York, United States, March 31, 2010.

The GPDD co-sponsored a panel discussion on “Haiti: Reconstruction for All” during the International Donors’ Conference for Haiti on March 31 along with the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, UN DESA and the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the World Bank, and Disabled Peoples’ International. The panel presented the current needs of people with disabilities in Haiti, the long-term benefits of building an inclusive society, and the development of sustainable service delivery systems for assistive technologies.

Meeting at the Inter-American Development Bank on “Reconstruction in Haiti and Innovative Universal Design”, Washington DC, United States, March 19, 2010.

The GPDD and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) co-organized a meeting on “Reconstruction in Haiti and Innovative Universal Design” on March 19 at the IDB in Washington DC. On that occasion a draft of the First Chapter of the Toolkit on Inclusive Reconstruction was presented to the audience, which was mainly composed of architects working for the IDB. Among other things, the IDB is also in charge of housing reconstruction in Haiti; therefore the meeting presented a great occasion to foster knowledge of and commitment to accessible reconstruction.

Presentation of the Working Group on Haiti Reconstruction at the CBR continental Congress in Oaxaca, Mexico, on March 5, 2010.

A preliminary draft of the GPDD Toolkit “Inclusive Reconstruction: Haiti for All”, Chapter 1, was presented to the audience by Djenana Jalovcic, Director at the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. Dejana Jalovcic is a participant of the GPDD Working Group on Haiti Reconstruction since its beginning.

How the Working Group on Haiti Reconstruction works

The GPDD Secretariat facilitates the WG interaction and accomplishment of priorities. The WG communicates through a participatory electronic mailing list. Subscriptions have to be approved by Listserv Moderators while messages are not moderated.

If you are interested in participating or would like to learn more, please contact Maria Veronica Reina at (copying also Luca Valente at