The Pacific region has recorded progress in the implementation of the region's strategy on disability since it was adopted in 2009.Speaking at the opening of the 2nd Forum Disability Ministers' Meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea today, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Mr Feleti Teo told the Ministers, "I am pleased to inform you that the region has made some remarkable progress in the implementation of the regional strategy on disability."
"We have, with the assistance and support of development partners and partner agencies developed and finalised an implementation action plan for the regional strategy. And with the support of the Government of Australia through AusAID, we have secured generous funding support to progress the implementation of the regional strategy," Mr Teo said.
"I take this opportunity on behalf of the region and in particular the Forum island countries to register and express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the government of Australia for their continued and unwavering commitment in support of the region's collective efforts in support of the rights and interests of people with disabilities."
Mr Teo continued: "There is clear evidence from the work undertaken under the regional strategy that there is a strong momentum moving forward in support of the rights and interests of people with disability. The region's leadership is more aware and cognizant now of the situation of people with disability. There is also strong political will to provide for an enabling environment that will allow people with disability to enjoy life to the full and to also contribute effectively to their community."
The Forum Secretariat Deputy Secretary General, Mr Teo urged the Forum Disability Ministers to ensure that disability remains and continues to be reflected as a regional priority in the Refreshed Pacific Plan. Forum Leaders at their meeting in the Cook Islands in August endorsed a review of the Pacific Plan to be undertaken next year to be led by Sir Mekere Morauta, a former Prime Minister of PNG.
The 2nd Forum Disability Ministers' Meeting with the theme of 'Progressing Disability Inclusive Development' will also review the partnership between governments and Disabled Person Organisations and hopefully agree on strategies to strengthen the partnership in promoting disability issues at the regional and national level.
The two-day meeting will also discuss emerging issues relating to disability inclusive development in the Pacific; share good practices in the region in areas of policies, services and programme initiatives in disability development; and provide information on upcoming international forums on Disability.
The meeting, coordinated by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is also being attended by other CROP agencies, WHO and representatives of non-government organisations. It is being funded by the Australian Government.