Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism Saima Wazed Hossain on Tuesday called for making a comprehensive database on persons with disabilities to integrate them into all policies to make an inclusive society.
She made the call while conducting the plenary session of the 2nd International Conference on Disability and Disaster Risk Management at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the three-day conference.
"It's a significant problem when you do not have data on the persons with disabilities, where they are living, how they are living and as well as what has happened to them afterwards and in addition to how many more people have become disabled due to the experiences of disaster, it compounds the problems," said Saima, also WHO's Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in South East Asia Region.
"We have plans for development . . . for both economic or social development, we need to include the persons with disabilities to ensure their needs," she said.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam, Executive Director of ONG Inclusiva of Chili Carlos Kaiser, Disaster Management and Relief Ministry's Additional Secretary Satya Brata Saha, UNDP Bangladesh Assistant Country Director Khurshid Alam and Employment and Accessibility, People with Disability, Australia Senior Policy Officer Samantha Helen French also addressed the session.
Saima, also international focal point of advisory group on Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Management, urged the UNDP to focus on that area and plan along with development planning, not just counting the populations where they are but actually see needs of persons within those communities.
She also underscored the need for increasing capacity of institutions by engaging persons with disabilities in making polices for them. "If you want to reduce vulnerability and disability, you have to hear them, they know the best what is needed for them."
In his address, Shafiul Alam said the government has incorporated plans including disaster risk reduction in line with the UN declared Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the spirit of 'leaving no one behind'.
Disaster risk reeducation requires engagement and participation of all of a society and it also requires empowerment and inclusive, accessible and non-discriminatory participation paying special attention to people with gender, age, disability, and concerned perspective should be integrated into all policies and practices, he said.