- March 17, 2022

Read by: Sainimili Tawake, Pacific Disability Forum

Excellencies, delegates, warm Pacific greetings to you from Fiji. I represent the Pacific Disability Forum, a member of the International Disability Alliance, and also the Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation. The blue Pacific is home to about 1.7 million persons with disabilities. We are certainly at the forefront of the effects of climate change.

But I want to draw your attention to all of our sisters with disabilities around the world. I do not have to tell those of you gathered here today that women and girls with disabilities experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violations of our rights. I am sure I also do not need to tell you that women and girls with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by climate change, disasters, and environmental degradation.

Women and girls with disabilities are at greater risk for experiencing harm because of climate change, including heightened risk of violence, and will experience more barriers to support due to their gender and disability. In the aftermath of disasters as result of climate change, they are most likely to be left out, experiencing barriers to accessing assistive devices, health care, education and more.

Non-gender-inclusive and non-disability-inclusive climate mitigation and climate adaptation policies and programs can actually magnify risks to us.

Women with disabilities are not currently included in the design of policy, implementation or monitoring of national climate adaptation policies and national climate change mitigation policies, despite these higher risks for experiencing harm.

We cannot be pushed to the margins in action on climate change. We are fed up with being forgotten in disasters.

So, we urge you to adopt necessary measures to ensure meaningful participation and active involvement of women and girls with disabilities and their representative organizations in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating climate, disaster and environmental policies and programs and all relevant decision-making processes. Pay particular attention to women and girls with disabilities from underrepresented and most-marginalized groups.

Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are obliged to ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others. And when it comes to our movement, we all know the motto, “nothing about us without us.”  There cannot be a more urgent moment for our involvement, as women and girls, as persons with disabilities, and as feminists fighting for our planet.

Thank you.

ECOSOC-Accredited Endorsers

Association d'Aide à l'Education de l'Enfant Handicapé (AAEEH)

Christian Blind Mission (CBM)

Disability Rights Fund

Down Syndrome International

European Disability Forum 

European Network on Independent Living limited

International Disability Alliance

International Federation of Hard of Hearing People (IFHOH)

International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)

LICHT FÜR DIE WELT - Christoffel Entwicklungszusammenarbeit

Organisation Internationale pour le Développement Economique Social et Humanitaire

Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (Sightsavers)

Women Enabled International

World Blind Union

World Federation of the Deaf-Blind (WFDB)

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)

Non- ECOSOC-Accredited Endorsers

Arab Forum of Women with Disabilities (AFOWD)

Arab Organization of Persons with Disabilities (AOPD)

ASEAN Disability Forum

Autism Europe

Consortium of African Diaspora based in the US for the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities (CADUS)

Disability Inclusive Development Programs and Services (DIDEPAS)

Disability Sausage Media

Diversability LLC

Femmes pour le Dire, Femmes pour agir

International Network of Women with Disabilities

Otago Disabled Students Association

Pacific Disability Forum

Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre India (SMRC India)

Sisters of Frida, UK

The European Network of (Ex)-Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP)

The National Confederation of Disabled People of Greece (NCDP GREECE)

The European Deafblind Union

Women with Disabilities India Network 

Watch the video of the statement, presented by Sainimili Tawake of the Pacific Disability Forum

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