The 1.3 billion Persons with disabilities belong to the most marginalized groups worldwide. This is at least 15% of the world’s population, of which the great majority live in countries of the global south. Due to the ageing world population, the number of persons with disabilities is expected to significantly increase in the next decades. Everyone can be affected by a disability at some point in life.
Disability inclusion and climate change impact mitigation as well as disaster risk reduction is often not considered as issues which are strongly interlinked. This is a problem, because persons with disabilities are disproportionally affected by the impact of climate change: They often live in areas where disaster risks are high, face higher mortality rates when disaster struck or in the event of heat waves. Early warning systems are often not accessible to them as well as shelters and infrastructure, which allows for evacuation. Many of these challenges apply to elderly people as well.
We believe that here – as well as anywhere – digital technologies need to play their part in building a future where everyone is included, and no one is left behind. Greentech start-ups and innovations targeted at diverse aspects of climate change impact mitigation are on the rise. Yet, the great majority of these solutions are not accessible to persons with disabilities.
We believe we can foster inclusive digital solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change on persons with disabilities in India. Through this we can source and scale innovative solutions and raise awareness globally of the need for all stakeholders addressing climate change. This will pave the way to address the risks posed to persons with disabilities as an ethical and economic imperative.