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Home    |   Print Edition   |   A Disability Rights Approach to Climate Governance

A Disability Rights Approach to Climate Governance

Nov 20, 2020

Sébastien Jodoin, Nilani Ananthamoorthy and Katherine Lofts

Volume 47 (2020) - Issue 1

Despite international recognition of the greater vulnerability of persons with disabilities to climate change, disability issues have received little attention
from practitioners, policy makers, and scholars in this field. As countries move forward with measures to combat climate change and adapt to its impacts, it is critical to understand how these efforts can be designed and implemented in ways that can respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of disabled persons. Drawing on the human rights model of disability enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we set out a disability rights approach to climate governance that identifies the differential impacts of climate change for disabled persons and outlines the principles, obligations, and standards for designing and adopting accessible climate mitigation and adaptation policies and programs. On the whole, we argue that States should identify and pursue synergies between the realization of disability rights and the pursuit of initiatives to decarbonize their economies as well as prepare their societies against future climate impacts. In addition to fulfilling the rights of persons with disabilities and fostering a more inclusive world, disability-inclusive climate solutions can have resonant outcomes that can enable a greater share of the population to contribute to the emergence of carbon neutrality and enhance the climate resilience of society as whole.