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#LeaveNoOneBehind: COP26 Urged To Consider Access When Tackling Climate Change

National Federation of the Blind UK urges COP26 to think inclusively in their commitment to climate change.

Sandy Taylor, part of the National Federation of the Blind UK, created a video message for World Leaders attending COP26 in Glasgow to urge them to consider disabled people in their commitment to climate change. Taylor shows in the video how certain design flaws in Glasgow – but it is implied, wider in the UK and beyond – do not provide safe access for Disabled people.

For those who do not have these access needs, the road closures and design changes to cycle lanes may add confusion; but for Taylor and many other disabled people, it is unsafe and restricts autonomy.

In the video, Taylor shows how he cannot access a bus as he would have to cross two hazardous cycle lanes to do it. He asks the World Leaders to please consider disabled people like himself when designing these new cities and new sustainable processes of living as disabled people and visually impaired people ‘do not want to be designed out.’

This is part of a wider movement around COP26 to remind the climate change summit to remember disabled people in activism.

wheelchair signage

The hashtag #NoOneLeftBehind has begun trending on Twitter, with Taylor himself saying that people who are creating these new designs do not ‘understand the needs of disabled people’. Pauline Castres, a disability, global health, and climate change policy expert comments: ‘The disability rights movement focuses on access from the inception phase so that accessibility is embedded from the start and not an afterthought, and this was, unfortunately, but not surprisingly, not the case at COP26, but also more generally in the climate justice movement.

‘Disability is rarely mentioned (disabled people are barely mentioned in the Paris agreement), and it’s still not seen as a priority to have the voices of disabled people at the heart of climate conversations.

‘Yet, there’s clear evidence that disabled people are disproportionately affected by extreme climate events. There can’t be climate justice if disabled people are left behind. While world leaders meet to discuss how to implement strong action to tackle climate change, they must commit to engaging with the disability community and giving us a seat at the table at a local, national, and international level. This must start at COP26 and continue next year with the Global Disability Summit happening in February 2022, as well as become a constant in climate policy-making.’

 

 

In related news, the COP26 has been criticised over its lack of accessible location, which disabled Israeli minister for energy Karine Elharrar has said is unsuitable for wheelchairs, prompting her to leave the conference yesterday.

Photo by marianne bos

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