DICARP has a new site: visit disabilityinclusiveclimate.org
About the program
Although disabled persons are disproportionally affected by climate change and form 15% of the world’s population, they have been largely invisible in the field of climate change. Little is known about the factors that shape the capacity of persons with disabilities to cope with climate impacts, the ways that they may be affected by initiatives for mitigating or adapting to climate change, and their contributions to reducing carbon emissions, enhancing climate resilience, and their role in advancing climate justice.
Drawing on the “human rights model of disability” enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Program (DICARP) works with disability and climate activists and experts from around the world to generate, co-produce, share, and translate knowledge on how efforts to combat climate change can be designed and implemented in ways that respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of disabled persons.
DICARP seeks to ensure that its activities are led by or in collaboration with disabled persons, is accessible to diverse segments of the disability community, and centers their voices and enhances their agency in the field of climate change.
Our work also has an intersectional focus that recognizes that disability intersects with different forms of oppression tied to race, gender, age, indigeneity, queerness, and other characteristics to shape processes and outcomes of climate governance and vulnerability.
Find out more at disabilityinclusiveclimate.org
Prof. Sébastien Jodoin is the director of the Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Program. He is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law of McGill University, where holds a Canada Research Chair (tier 2) in Human Rights and the Environment. He is also a member of the CHLRP and an Associate Member of the Institute of Health & Social Policy, the Max Bell School of Public Policy, and the McGill School of Environment.
His research focuses on two broad themes: the relationship between human rights and efforts to address complex environmental problems and the study of climate legal, policy, and governance processes in a comparative and transnational perspective. Sébastien is the author of Forest Preservation in a Changing Climate: REDD+ and Indigenous and Community Rights in Indonesia and Tanzania (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Human Rights and Climate Governance (Routledge, 2018). His scholarship has appeared in top-ranked peer reviewed journals in law and the social sciences and has been cited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In his capacity as a faculty member living with multiple sclerosis, he currently serves as the co-chair for McGill University’s Joint Board-Senate Subcommittee on Persons with Disabilities. Prior to his appointment at McGill, Sébastien worked at the United Nations and the Canadian section of Amnesty International. A former Trudeau Scholar, he holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies from Yale University, an M.Phil. in international relations from the University of Cambridge, an LL.M. in international law from the London School of Economics, and BCL & LLB degrees from McGill University.
Dr. Yolanda Muñoz is a co-investigator with the Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Program and coordinates its stakeholder engagement and knowledge translation activities. She is a Senior Research Associate with the Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and the Environment and contributes to its research and policy activities on the intersections of disability and environmental justice. She has more than 25 years of experience advocating for the rights of people with disabilities in Mexico, Quebec and at the international level. She has worked as consultant in inclusive development for the Inter-American Development Bank, and served for four years as Program Officer at the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, which promote the implementation of the UNCRPD in more than 26 countries. Recently, she has worked as an external consultant for Global Greengrants Fund to promote anti-ableist practices in their climate justice grant making activities.
Prof. Nandini Ramanujam is a co-investigator with the Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Program. She is an Associate Professor in McGill University’s Faculty of Law and the Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP). Through her leadership of CHRLP’s Disability and Human Rights initiative, she has worked with international DPOs and CSOs on applied and clinical legal and policy research projects in the fields of disability, human rights, and international development. Before joining the McGill Faculty of Law, she served as the Director of the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute and continues to be part of the Open Society Foundations’ Disability Rights Consortium.
Research & publications
Through collaborative research, capacity-building, story-telling, and advocacy led with disability and climate activists and scholars, DICARP aims to
- generate and disseminate new knowledge at the intersections of disability rights and climate change;
- empower persons with disabilities and their organizations in the field of climate change;
- identify and promote rights-based policies and practices for disability-inclusive climate action; and
- enhance the accessibility of climate decision-making processes, communications, and solutions.
With funding provided by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, DICARP researchers and collaborators are carrying out legal and policy analysis of the intersections of disability and climate change.
The group is performing community-based participatory research on the adaptive capacity and resilience of the disability community to climate impacts.
Finally, the group is preparing in-depth qualitative case studies concerning the role and contributions of disabled persons as “knowers, makers, and doers” in efforts to decarbonize societies and adapt to global warming.
Our work has resulted in two publications thus far:
- Sébastien Jodoin, Nathaniel Eisen, and Sébastien Duyck, The Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (Washington, DC: CIEL, Inclusiva & Council of Canadians with Disabilities, 2019).
- Sébastien Jodoin, Nilani Ananthamoorthy, and Katherine Lofts, “A Disability Rights Approach to Climate Governance” (2020) 47(1) Ecology Law Quarterly 1-44.
Systematic Analysis of Disability Rights in Canadian Climate Policies
This report provides a systematic analysis of the inclusion of people with disabilities and their rights in the climate policies adopted by federal, provincial, and some municipal governments in Canada. It begins by reiterating the key obligations owed by Canada to persons with disabilities under international human rights law. It also reviews whether and how persons with disabilities and their rights have been recognized in a dataset of 85 Canadian climate mitigation and adaptation policies. The analysis reveals that Canadian with disabilities have been systematically neglected in Canadian climate policies. This exclusion reinforces social inequities in the transition to carbon neutrality and exposes them to disproportionate rates of harm and mortality in the context of the impacts of climate change. The report concludes by calling on the federal, provincial, and municipal governments to take concrete steps to ensure that their climate policies respect, protect, and fulfil the rights of Canadians with disabilities.
Disability Inclusion in National Climate Commitments and Policies
This report provides a systematic analysis of the inclusion of persons with disabilities and their rights in the climate policies adopted by States parties to Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This includes the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that States are required to submit every five years, as well as their national climate adaptation and mitigation policies. The report also features a compendium of references to disability in these climate policies.
States are obliged under international human rights law, most notably under the UNCRPD, to respect, protect, and fulfil the rights of persons with disabilities in their response to climate change. However, the report finds that only 35 of the 192 States parties to the Paris Agreement refer to persons with disabilities in their NDCs or INDCs. At the domestic level, only 45 states refer to persons with disabilities in their climate adaptation policies, and none appear to refer to persons with disabilities in their climate mitigation policies. Moreover, the report concludes that even when states refer to disability, they do so in a cursory manner, without including meaningful mechanisms to consult people with disabilities or ensure their rights are respected in climate policies.
The report concludes that states are not fulfilling their obligations under the UNCRPD in the context of the climate crisis and sets out a number of concrete steps that states must take to ensure that persons with disabilities and their rights are fully and effectively included in collective efforts to combat climate change.
To ensure that its research and activities are aligned with the diverse perspectives, experiences, and needs of disabled persons, and generate transformative outcomes in the fields of disability rights and climate change, the Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Program’s (DICARP) activities are guided by an advisory panel bringing together activists, scholars, and practitioners from around the world.
- Francisco Bariffi - Universidd Nacional de Mar del Plata
- Karina Chupina - International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People
- Louise Fournier - Greenpeace
- Patrick Fugeyrollas - L’Égalité et l’Inclusion des personnes en situation de handicap (INÉÉI–PSH) & Université Laval
- Pratima Gurung - Indigenous Persons with Disabilities Global Network
- Carlos Kaiser - ONG Inclusiva
- Selma Khoudiri - L’Égalité et l’Inclusion des personnes en situation de handicap (INÉÉI–PSH)
- Anna Lawson - University of Leeds
- Setareki Macanawai - Pacific Disability Forum
- Dianah Msipa - Centre for Human Rights, Umiversity of Pretoria
- Ipul Powaseu - Papua New Guinea Assembly of Disabled Persons
- Shivaun Quinlivan - NUI Galway
- Marcie Roth - World Institute on Disability
- Nkhasi Sefuthi - Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of the Disabled (LNFOD)
- Jewelles Smith - Council of Canadians with Disabilities
- Fatma Wangare - Kenya Association of the Intellectually Handicapped (KAIH)
- Elham Youssefin - International Disability Alliance
Based at McGill University, DICARP is a collaborative initiative led by the Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism and the Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and the Environment.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.