On CRDPs and CRPD: why the rights of people with disabilities are crucial for understanding climate-resilient development pathways

Elsevier, The Lancet Planetary Health, Volume 5, December 2021
Eriksen S.H., Grondahl R., Saebones A.-M.
In this Personal View, we examine how the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and lived experiences of disability can deepen understanding of four key features of climate-resilient development: social justice and equity as normative goals; the ethical underpinnings of social choices; the inequitable relations that drive marginalisation; and the ways in which society navigates uncertainty through inclusive and contestatory politics. A disability lens not only helps to understand how marginalisation generates vulnerability; it also helps to elaborate the ethic of solidarity as underpinning social choices and steering development towards climate-resilient pathways. Social justice concerns non-discrimination and equitable participation in everyday informal arenas, as well as formal decision making processes. The resilience knowledges of disabled people help to rethink sustainable development by expounding human interdependence and everyday problem solving in the face of uncertainties. They also contribute to opening up climate change decision making and knowledge processes in ways crucial to engendering transformative change. Embracing human diversity by recognising dignity and capacity is required to counter othering and marginalisation, ensure human wellbeing and planetary health, and achieve socially just development. As such, solidarity is not just a normative goal, but also a means of building climate-resilient development.