To date, the rights of persons with disabilities have received limited attention in the context of the UNFCCC. In the Cancun Agreements, adopted at COP16 in 2010, Parties identified persons with disabilities as one of the segments of the population whose human rights are acutely affected by the impacts of climate change (decision 1/CP.16). In the Paris Agreement, the Parties further acknowledged that they should, “when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights,” including those owed to persons with disabilities (Preamble). In a number of decisions and reports, UNFCCC bodies have also affirmed the importance of taking into account the needs of persons with disabilities and ensuring their engagement in relation to capacity building, education, awareness, adaptation, and action for climate empowerment.

In these provisions, decisions and reports, persons with disabilities are included alongside other vulnerable groups and are not given special consideration. Moreover, persons with disabilities have not been the focus of specific initiatives to respect and fulfil their rights, such as those that have been created for other groups (e.g., the Indigenous Peoples Platform or the Gender Action Plan).

Enhancing inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in climate change mitigation and adaptation is a key priority for the International Disability Alliance. In collaboration with members and partners, we are pursuing the below activities in this area:

  • Meaningful integration of persons with disabilities in climate-related education, training, public awareness, public participation, and international cooperation in the context of the review of the Doha work programme and Action for Climate Empowerment (decision to be adopted at UNFCCC COP-26 in Glasgow);
  • Integration of disability rights language, where appropriate throughout decisions adopted by the UNFCCC COP; and
  • Creation of a constituency for persons with disabilities under the UNFCCC.

Adoption of a series of decisions by the UNFCCC COP on disability-inclusive climate action, which would include the following:

  • Measures to enhance the participation of persons with disabilities in UNFCCC negotiations and in bodies established under the UNFCCC;
  • A mandate for the UNFCCC Secretariat to produce a series of technical reports, organize a series of workshops, provide capacity-building to UNFCCC bodies, secretariat staff, parties, and
  • observers, and facilitate coordination with other UN agencies, international organizations, state parties, and NGOs to identify, promote, and implement disability-inclusive climate policies and programmes.
  • Measures for state parties and other actors to fully and effectively integrate disability rights in climate policies and programmes at the national, regional, and international levels.


The International Disability Alliance was pleased to participate in the panel “A Climate in Crisis: The Fight for Justice in a Warming World” organized by the Unitarian Universalist United Nations...

On Wednesday, July 8th, the Panel Discussion on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Context of Climate Change took place as a part of the 44th session of...