On June 15, under the COSP15 framework, the Women with Disabilities Leading Climate Action conference was held, an online meeting that highlighted the role of this collective in driving climate policy change.
Concern about climate change continues to grow in different states. However, climate plans have not always taken people with disabilities into account. The experts who attended the conference have links to environmental causes and seek, together with their organisations, to make changes to national strategic plans and provide people with disabilities with an accessible, fair and inclusive roadmap.
For example, Petri Puhakka, Ambassador for Disability Inclusion at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, put forward the steps that the Scandinavian country is already taking: both gender equality and disability inclusion are cross-cutting objectives in its foreign policy, and are pillars for climate resilience and biodiversity.
Climate change affects us on a daily basis, of that there is no longer any doubt. But it does not affect all people equally. "As someone with a disability and an indigenous woman, my experience is different. Add to that the reality of developing countries like Nepal, where floods, droughts and landslides are common. Mountains and glaciers are melting by the day, and the rate of disability is also increasing by the day. Vulnerability is a constant," explained Pratima Gurung, president of the National Association of Disabled Indigenous Women of Nepal.
In this context, climate action also needs to integrate a disability perspective into adaptation and mitigation solutions, a narrative that needs to go beyond the theoretical level and be the subject of concrete policies and actions. "This year, in the run-up to COP27, disability must be present in all dialogues, representing every person in the context of climate change," said Stefan Tromel, Senior Disability Specialist at the International Labour Organization (ILO), a D-Hub partner.
Thanks to these kinds of meetings, the link between disability, climate change and just transition is strengthened. A vision that serves as a basis to urge administrations and public authorities to develop specific programmes and regulations. Therefore, D-Hub is grateful for the development of this type of activities as well as for the contributions made by all the speakers who took part:
● Cheryl Urban, Director General for Economic Development and International Financial Institutions, Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
● Petri Puhakka, Ambassador for Disability Inclusion, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Finland
● Pratima Gurung, General Secretary, Indigenous Person with Disabilities Global Network, and President, National Indigenous Disabled Women Association Nepal (NIDWAN)
● Maria Un, Chair, Indonesia Association of Women with Disabilities (HWDI) of South Sulawesi Branches
● Monjural Kabir, Global Adviser and Team Leader, Gender Equality and Disability Inclusion, UN Women
● Stefan Tromel, Senior Disability Specialist in the International Labour Organization (ILO)
● Dwi Ariyani, Regional Head of Programs – Asia, DRF/ DRAF (moderator)