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Disability Inclusion In Climate Action Is Not About Ticking The Boxes: Pacific Leaders Told

Pacific Disability Forum Chief Executive Officer Setareki Macanawai says ‘leaders will not know anything about us, without us in the climate action space!’
17 Nov 2022 17:30
Disability Inclusion In Climate Action Is Not About Ticking The Boxes: Pacific Leaders Told
Pacific Disability Forum Chief Executive Officer Setareki Macanawai with Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General Henry Puna after a side event at the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion at the COP27 venue in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on November 15, 2022.

Disability inclusion in climate action is not about ticking the boxes, it’s about genuine and meaningful inclusion.

This was the challenge placed on Pacific Island Leaders at COP27 by Pacific Disability Forum chief executive officer Setareki Macanawai.

Mr Macanawai said people living with disabilities needed to be part of the game.

He said they needed to be part of the climate action response discussions at a national and international level.

“For this to happen we need climate change responders to be talking to us, talk to people with disabilities and the respective organisations so that we can tell you the challenges that we face as persons living with disabilities; to share with you our stories and how we can fight this battle together in a more inclusive way because you will not know anything about us, without us,” he said.

 

He also challenged Pacific Island leaders to up their game to join Countries like UK, Kenya, US, Canada, Finland and Australia who have been acknowledged as friends of disability inclusiveness in climate action.

“I want to put a challenge across, we have heard here at COP last week the Government of Finland announcing five countries who have been acknowledged as the friends of disability inclusiveness climate action,” he said.

“It would be nice to have one country from the Pacific on this list I leave that request with the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, the challenge here is to have one of the Pacific Island countries joining the five.”

 

Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General Henry Puna said climate change was introducing new risk and challenges; creating additional barriers that persons with disability already face.

He added that a recent research study carried out by the Pacific Disability Forum showed that climate change was amplifying the risk that persons with disability was already experiencing in their daily lives. The study also that disability inclusion in climate action needs to be much better.

“As a region, we must work together to ensure that we break these barriers,” he said.

 

“Disability inclusive climate action can only be achieved by ensuring the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in climate preparedness, adaptation and mitigation.

“No one should be left behind.”

He said that different people had different ways of interpreting disability inclusion.

“But for me it means that whatever we do, whether they are policies, regulations or implementation they must include and respond to the needs of everyone including persons with disabilities.”

 

Story by: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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