Walk at COP28: Call for the inclusion of the persons with disabilities’ voices in climate action
December 6, 2023
Dubai – Today at the COP28, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Climate Action, Michael Haddad, completed a symbolic walk to call for the inclusion of the persons with disabilities’ voices in climate negotiations and action. His walk highlighted the crucial need for the full participation of persons with disabilities in climate conversations and served as a reminder of the urgency for increased ambition and action to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The walk started next to the entrance of Expo Urban Farm and ended outside the Women's Pavilion, in the Green Zone, where participants were welcomed by the UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Arab States Dr. Abdallah Al-Dardari.
"The active participation of persons with disabilities in climate negotiations and action is foundational to justice and pivotal for driving effective and sustainable climate solutions. Through the empowerment and involvement of all segments of society, including persons with disabilities, we can foster more comprehensive and impactful strategies to address the challenges posed by climate change," said Dr. Al Dardari.
The walk ended with much attention and support from prominent personalities, delegates, business leaders, academics, youth and the media.
The walk also shed the light on Haddad’s remarkable journey. Paralyzed from the chest down at the age of six, Michael Haddad was told that he will never be able to stand up or walk independently. He defied the odds, devising his own unique method of walking upright, independently, with the help of a simple exoskeleton and a pair of crutches. Since 2013, he has been employing his walking ability to shed light on critical environmental challenges in his home country, Lebanon, across the Arab region and globally.
UNDP appointed Haddad as a Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Climate Action in 2019. Haddad is currently preparing for his biggest challenge yet, to walk 100 kilometers in the Arctic Circle to bring attention to the melting arctic ice sheet as one of the gravest manifestations of climate change, and to call for urgent climate action. His Arctic Walk for Action on the Klima (Climate) Emergency – AWAKE Walk is expected to take place in Norway in late 2024.
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