Generally speaking, global climate change crisis remains the existential threat of our time, it is being paralleled by the COVID-19 pandemic which is impacting boys, men, women and girls with disabilities disproportionately and revealing stark realities in the system of caregiving and increasing discrimination, marginalization violence against persons with disabilities. Moreover, UNCRPD Article 28 stipulates what the state as the duty bearer should conduct itself.
- Adequate standard of living and
“States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate
food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realization
of this right without discrimination on the basis of disability.”
Is the government of Kenya doing enough?
On the other hand, The CRPD places an obligation for governments to ensure persons with disabilities and their representative organizations are included in all aspects of
political and public life. Broadly speaking this means persons with disabilities and their organizations should be involved in all political and civic
activities, including those which have now emerged for climate change. The first question to ask in addressing capacity and leadership is: How is disability
positioned in the climate change space and how is climate change positioned as an issue in the disability movement?
Furthermore, having access to adequate food, clothing and housing and good living conditions is key for persons with disabilities and their families to have a good
quality of life. As a public policy think tank, we believe Climate change is projected to exacerbate food shortages and malnutrition in the world’s poorest regions while also negatively impacting
on livelihoods that are made from agriculture and community enterprise. The impact of this is likely to deteriorate the overall ‘quality of life’ for people
living in the poorest communities in which persons with disabilities are disproportionately represented.
In other words, Collectively, persons with disabilities are one of the most resource-poor groups in the world, and often face further marginalization due to intersecting
factors such as their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religious adherence, level of education, and geographical location. Hence, they are globally among
the most at-risk people to the impacts of accelerating climate change. Practically, this means they and their communities are living with significant climate-related
issues including: increasing storms, foods and landslides; coastal inundation; droughts; wildfires; degradation of land, resources, infrastructure and living
environments; extremes of temperature; and growing unpredictability and uncertainty. It’s a proven fact that Many persons with disabilities live below the poverty line, in underserved areas where the living and environmental
conditions are disproportionally affecting their overall health and wellbeing. Considering the rapid changes climate change is causing on natural resources,
this can have life-changing consequences on the overall quality of life of persons with disabilities.
this is to say the two crises are hitting the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest, acting as multipliers and intensifiers of poverty and inequalities, including gender inequality. Some governments have been forced to put efforts to combat climate change on hold while straddling the impact of the pandemic.
this is evidently clear by the CBM 2021 disability and climate change videos by persons with disabilities from different countries. In terms of urgency, these two crises are upfront and central to communities and countries alike. While these two crises are highly visible in the media, another related disaster is beyond the view of the mainstream but is proving to be just as devastating: the global debt crisis. The interaction between the climate crisis and the COVID pandemic is concocting a global toxic cocktail that is as combustible as an undercurrent emergency which can produce triple effects on the lives of boys, men, women and girls with disabilities.
Evidently its clear even in the rural areas, the indigenous zone like where I come from. The impact of climate is swiftly becoming a timebomb.
As disability sausage media we have seen • Increasing humanitarian emergencies, both fast and slow onset; for instance, the current crises in Afghanistan and Haiti.
Another example is the declaration of the national disaster in Kenya in September 2021. This is due to Declining food, energy and water security; additionally, most global south nations have also had a share of Declining access to shelter, infrastructure and basic services; Increasing displacement or being left behind in degraded environments; this is evident by how individuals are swiftly moving to slum areas and rural places.
Another example is the Declining health and an increase in the prevalence of many impairments, due to
changing disease patterns and other impacts on health. Diseases such as malaria
are now endemic in new areas, with the transmission season often
lengthening; furthermore, extreme temperatures, increasing hardship and climate-induced
displacement is likely to negatively impact mental health. Another example is August month in Kenya is normally a summer month but it was one of the coldest months of our time.
Furthermore, it is widely recognized that being able to obtain up-to-date information in an accessible
format across all parts of life including climate related information, remains a significant
challenge for all persons with disabilities. Most intervention and strategies on climate change have not yet embraced the cross-cutting issue of disability inclusion.
Additionally, having access to information on the full range of themes that fall within climate change is
critical for persons with disabilities, particularly when it comes to information on preparation
and adaption. This includes access to information on the impact of climate change,
suggestions on how to live a more sustainable life, actions that can be taken to ensure daily
lifestyles are environmentally friendly and steps to adapt to climate impact. It also includes
ensuring that persons with disabilities can become active participants and are included in
social movements on climate change. If information is not provided in accessible formats,
persons with disabilities are denied access to information and critical steps for preparedness.
All in all, to ensure inclusive development and humanitarian programmes are effective, it is vital to be inclusive of persons with disabilities. The inclusion
of persons with disabilities within all strategic areas in organizational programmes is considered in line with a human rights-based approach.
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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”