PIANZEA jointly sponsored the first ever Pacific Regional Dialogue on Disability Rights in Elections. This event was jointly sponsored by the IFES, AEC/PIANZEA, Pacific Disability Forum (PDF), PIFS and FEO. During the conference, EMB representatives from Samoa, Palau and Australia shared their experiences in providing services for people with disabilities including AEC’s services for blind and low vision voters and its Disability Advisory Committee (DAC). During the meeting FEO announced its intention to establish a similar advisory committee and Palau committed to establish a focal point for engagement on disability issues. Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) also discussed the particular challenges of women and indigenous people with disabilities and their strategies for advocacy and leadership in this area.
On the final day, a BRIDGE workshop on disability access was jointly facilitated by IFES, AEC and FEO for all participants. The workshop introduced the mixed group of participants (DPOs and EMBs) to disability rights and standards (such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and viable entry points in the electoral cycle to address barriers to participation for persons with disabilities.