Stakeholders canvass inclusion of women with disabilities in climate change policies

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By Justina Auta

Stakeholders in health, gender and environment sectors have advocated for the integration of women and girls with disabilities in climate change policies, programmes and disaster management initiatives.

The stakeholders made the call in Abuja at a one-day Stakeholders Meeting organised by the Network of Women with Disabilities (NWD) with support from the Disability Rights Fund.

Mrs Lois Auta, Project Lead and Executive Director, NWD, said that climate change affected women and girls with disabilities, especially in the areas of biodiversity, food insecurity, health, economy, water sanitation and hygiene.

“Our legal frameworks should encapsulate issues of women with disabilities and the impact of climate change.

“We need to include them in the planning; we should empower, engage and employ women with disabilities in all our jobs and training opportunities.

“Also, in the Conference of Parties (COP28), we did not see enough representation of women with disabilities.

“We want to see women with disabilities in steering committees and all other platforms on climate change.

“We want the five per cent reservations for women with disabilities in COP29, which the plans have already started,” she said.

On his part, Mr Akintude Akinmolayen, Executive Director, Climate Actors Innovations and Sustainability, stressed the importance of prioritising the needs of women with disabilities in various disaster scenarios and climate change impacts.

“Climate change affects everybody but PWDs are affected more especially in the area of access to facilities and when there is a climate disaster, it aggravates and worsens the problem.

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“These are the areas that should be looked into to ensure that they are also supported, prepared and the response strategy for them to be able to cope, adjust to the crisis whenever it comes to them.”

Akinmolayen, who also consults for NWD, urged the government to include PWDs in policies and early warning systems.

Also, Mr James Lalu, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWDs), reiterated the agency’s commitment towards promoting inclusion and ensuring the rights of PWDs were upheld.

Lalu, represented by Ms Akinbola Olanike, Head, Women and Gender Unit, said NCPWDs collaborated with others on ensuring their inclusion in climate change policies and access to aid during flooding or climate change impacts.

Also, Hajiya Fatima Kasim, Special Duties Department, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said the agency prioritised PWDs and vulnerable groups when distributing relief items during any climate change impacts like flooding.

Comfort Omokore, Assistant Chief Planning Officer, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), said the commission was committed towards supporting and implementing policies and programmes for PWDs.

Other highlights of the day included panel discussion on integrating disability inclusive approaches into climate change related planning and disaster risk reduction. (NAN)

Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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