This article will be based on the experiential learning process and coupled with evidence of impacts veteran.
According to WHO and world bank persons with disabilities are more than a billion and this number might rise because o climate change impacts.
Disability covers a diverse array of impairments.
According to the UNCRPD, it results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal barriers, such as stereotypes, stigma and prejudices, and environmental barriers. That hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. I opine, Persons with disabilities are marginalized in different spheres of lie, like culture, economically, institutionally, politically, and socially. this is to say persons with disabilities are particularly at risk of harm from the adverse effects of climate change. In other words, persons with disabilities are wedged both direct and indirect by climate change. This is felt differently and can be more severe and will also have a bearing on the enjoyment of a wide range of other human rights for everyone. including the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation, housing, decent work and development. Those rights are enshrined under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. States also have legal obligations, including under international human rights law, to implement disability-inclusive climate policies that empower persons with disabilities by ensuring their full and effective participation in climate action at all levels.
As disability sausage media we say “Disability rights are also human rights.”
additionally, Multiple and intersecting factors of discrimination related to gender, age, displacement, indigenous origin or minority status can further heighten the risks of persons with disabilities on the other hand, Persons with disabilities, in particular women and girls, are at heightened risk of violence, including sexual violence, exploitation or abuse, during emergencies, especially in emergency prone areas.
according to studies by Humanity & inclusion, save the children, IOM, in different geographical locations like Syria Yemen, Somalia, and other conflict zones, persons with disabilities are often among those mostly adversely affected in an emergency, sustaining disproportionately higher rates of morbidity and mortality, and are among those least able to access emergency support. Sudden-onset natural disasters and slow-onset events can seriously affect the access of persons with disabilities to food and nutrition, safe drinking water and sanitation, health-care services and medicines, education and training, adequate housing and access to decent work.
Seemingly, rural areas in many parts of the globe have evidently had extreme weather conditions like Flooding, landslides, extreme precipitation, tropical storms, rising sea levels and heat stress are climate change effects that will seriously impact infrastructure and sanitation services, exacerbating existing risk factors. which have contributed to increase of vulnerability of persons with disabilities in accessing services. These impacts are heightened for persons with disabilities, who already face social and economic barriers in accessing water for consumption and sanitation
Obviously, Poverty is a twin brother to disability thus the poorest people who include majority of persons with disabilities will continue to experience the worst effects of climate change through lost income and livelihood opportunities, displacement, hunger and adverse impacts on their health [Ilo 2018 UNDP 2017, UNICEF 2015, HI 20215[. Evidently, in the Kenyan context persons with disabilities in the rural areas, slum areas are the most affected by the vicious poverty cycle [KBS 2019[.
For example, Persons with disabilities often encounter barriers in finding accessible homes during disasters and climate change may further undermine the availability of adequate housing. People living in poverty often have less adaptive capacity such as the ability to move to less exposed areas or access quality housing. This is to say environmental barriers may prevent persons with disabilities from accessing shelters and safe spaces during emergencies. Thus, making them move to urban slums and informal settlements and build shelters in hazardous areas] KBS 2020].
In addition, that COVID-2019 is more rapid and causing havoc, it has worsened the situation and lives of persons with disabilities.
As a public policy scholar diversity and inclusion expert, I believe If persons with disabilities are left out of decision-making, that leaves them unable to contribute by identifying risk reduction and adaptation measures that could be effective for, and carried out by, persons with disabilities.
A body o research in public policy harangues we need to have insisted publics and also have invited publics [carol 2018 carol 2021[this is to mean Governments are called upon to engage with persons with disabilities in designing and implementing policies, plans and standards. additionally, UNCRPD is a tool which lays emphasis on participation and engagement of persons with disabilities and their organizations thus having self-representation which contributes to reduction of ableism tendencies [UNCRPD committee general comment No. 7 (2018). This is to say the UNCRPD all persons with disabilities are entitled to enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with others. It offers a guiding framework for actions related to persons with disabilities, including the building of inclusive climate change responses and resilience. The general principles set out in the Convention spell out a human rights-based approach, which in relation to climate resilience is based on non-discrimination, full and effective participation and inclusion in society, equality of opportunity, accessibility and gender equality [UNCRPD article 3 and 5[.most importantly, The promotion and protection of human rights are among the guiding principles of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015–2030), which calls for the integration of a disability perspective into all policies and practices, for accessibility and for data disaggregation by disability. In the Framework the importance is recognized of empowering persons with disabilities to lead and promote universally accessible approaches to response, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction, highlighting the latter three phases as opportunities to “build back better”.
Another crucial tool is the IAXC guidelines for 2019 which have must do actions for ensuring disability inclusion is achieved. For instance, duty bearers should Secure the meaningful, informed and effective participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in climate change mitigation and adaptation at all levels. Secondly Strengthen the capacities of persons with disabilities to respond to climate change by ensuring their access to information about climate change and its impacts, their participation in related decision-making processes and their enhanced social protection and climate resilience. Thirdly consider Empowering persons with disabilities as economic, social, human rights as climate actors
Fourthly, Support diversity and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the composition of national delegations to processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Apparently, persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by climate change, they must be included in climate action through the human right based approach. Through this participation would allow for tailored climate action that addresses the specific concerns of persons with disabilities.as I affirm through my personal philosophy Persons with disabilities are a heterogeneous group with different requirements. Therefore, when you include persons with disabilities in climate change action the whole range of populations will reap the benefit of inclusion.
What are the impacts of climate change on persons with disabilities? Increase of stigma, social exclusion, poverty, discriminatory legislation and policies and the limited availability of tailored services and programmes.
Many persons with disabilities rely on assistive devices that enhance physical functions, including by enabling them to hear or see better and achieve mobility. During a disaster, assistive devices are often lost or damaged, leaving persons with disabilities without adaptive assistance. Such devices are typically not a part of distributed relief materials and when they are, they may not provide for the same functionality that the lost devices provided.
furthermore, reduced access to health care and which result to poorer health outcomes. Such as increase in malnutrition, non-communicable diseases, respiratory conditions and infectious diseases as well, climate change disrupts social protection systems and essential health-care services, which can have grave consequences for persons with disabilities and social protection measures by many global south nations [Whiteford 2017[.
Will nations like Kenya consider universal basic income targeting all persons with disabilities?
Ostensibly, most of low-income countries Lack action plans and regulatory measures to ensure accessibility to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public] UNCRPD committee general comment No. 2 (2014, UNCRPD article 21]. Will the right duty bearers walk the talk?
Deceptively, Emergency-related information and warnings are often not available, nor accessible to persons with disabilities [HI 2020 IDA 2020]. Another major concern is Inadequate or lack of access to education, discriminatory attitudes and practices and socioeconomic factors result in high levels of under- and unemployment among persons with disabilities. for example, when job opportunities are lost because of the economic impacts of climate disasters or when heat stress causes manual labour to be dangerous. persons with disabilities who are among the marginalized workforce will be highly affected. Globally, the ratio of employment to population for persons with disabilities is 36 per cent on average. That ratio is 60 per cent for persons without disabilities
Consequently, this puts persons with disabilities at greater risk of death, injury and additional impairments owing to their general exclusion from disaster risk reduction policies, plans and programmes] IASC 2019].
All in all, according to the preamble of the Paris Agreement, States parties should respect, promote and consider their respective human rights obligations, including the rights of persons with disabilities, when addressing climate change. A series of decisions adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concern persons with disabilities, including decisions related to climate empowerment, adaptation, capacity-building, loss and damage, participation and a shared vision.
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The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”