Accepted paper:

Accessible climate policy: to what extent are climate policies in East Africa disability-inclusive?


Paul Rogers (University of Birmingham)

Paper short abstract:

Whilst disability rights have been recognised within international fora, this paper analyses national policies, strategies and interviews with key informants to explore how climate policy and practice reflect these rights and the vulnerability of disabled people to climate change in East Africa.

Paper long abstract:

Normative understandings of the rights of disabled people are increasingly embraced and established, from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015). The Paris Agreement reflects this understanding and explicitly recognises the unique vulnerability of disabled people to climate change. However, in particularly vulnerable regions like East Africa the enactment of these global ambitions into national climate change policies which safeguard disabled people remains unclear. Content analysis of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and climate strategies from 6 East African countries (Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) determine the visibility and presence of vulnerable populations, and disabled people specifically, and how vulnerability is conceptualised within relevant policy instruments (in relation to adaptation, mitigation, cross-cutting issues, such as human rights and gender responsiveness, and as stakeholders and agents of change). Interviews with senior leaders within disabled people's organisations and disability-focused INGOs in Tanzania discuss the level of representation of disabled people within climate policies and role of disabled people within the policy-making process. On a regional and national level, the status and implementation of global and national climate commitments and policies are examined and the role and visibility of disabled people in the process is analysed. Vulnerability is positioned as an appropriate concept to construct an understanding of climate change impacts, specifically on disabled people. Finally, recommendations are made to strengthen the involvement of disabled people as stakeholders and their representation within climate policy.

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