Inclusive Governance for the Deaf pushed by Project SIGND at COP28

Work Program 1A Manager
January 17, 2024
Partnerships Manager
February 26, 2024
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Inclusive Governance for the Deaf pushed by Project SIGND at COP28

Dubai, UAE – Equitable climate governance requires acknowledging the disproportionate impact of climate change on the Deaf community. Ensuring equal access to information, resources, and involvement in decision-making processes empowers them to contribute significantly to resilience efforts. This approach not only strengthens our collective response to environmental crises but also champions inclusivity in shaping effective climate policies.

Disability-Inclusion in Climate Change

On December 4, 2023, the team behind the Oscar M. Lopez Center’s Climate Resilience of the Deaf: Signs for Inclusive Governance and Development (Project SIGND) organized an event on the sidelines of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28) in Expo City, Dubai.

The side event, entitled “Reading the Signs: Inclusive Governance for the Resilience of the Deaf,” discussed the challenges faced by the Deaf community in the Philippines in the context of climate change and advocated for their inclusion in global climate action. The event was supported by the USAID, the Gerry Roxas Foundation, and Parabukas.

Participants included organizations deeply engaged in climate change work, such as Climate Tracker, Climate Smart Ventures, Earth Savers UNESCO Artist for Peace, Global Shapers – World Economic Forum, Oxfam, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Global Environment Facility, and Healthcare Without Harm, among others. This varied participation underscores the increasing focus and commitment to the essential field of climate resilience.

The side event featured keynote presentations, each underscoring Project SIGND’s critical role in driving forward the conversation about disability-inclusive climate action.

Project SIGND lead Carolyn Dagani presented “Disability-Inclusion in Climate Change,” highlighting barriers, discrimination challenges, and Project SIGND’s efforts to bridge gaps in climate action through capacity building and practical interventions.

Parabukas’ Program Director Atty. Cecilia Therese Guiao’s presentation on “A Rights-Based Approach to Deaf-inclusive Climate Action” presented the “Pathways to Deaf-Inclusive Governance in the Philippines” with emphasized an approach with ladderized levels: deaf-aware, deaf-sensitive, deaf-responsive, and deaf-inclusive.

During the side event,  the Government and Political Environment Assessment (GPEA) was launched, offering comprehensive strategies and governance solutions to enhance Deaf inclusion in climate action in the Philippines.

Another highlight was the international unveiling of the Climate Vulnerability Assessment (CVA) focusing on the Filipino d/Deaf community. This critical study provides crucial insights into climate hazards, impacts on families, and barriers to Deaf-inclusive governance.

OML Center’s Knowledge Production Assistant Manager Alfi Lorenz Cura shared the key findings of the two documents through his presentation, “Compounding Inequalities: Barriers and Climate Vulnerabilities Experienced by the d/Deaf.”

Project SIGND’s participation in COP28 represented a landmark achievement for the Center, signifying its inaugural physical engagement in the international climate conference. This highlights the Center’s commitment to advancing inclusive climate initiatives, marking a significant step forward in integrating Deaf perspectives into climate discussions through Project SIGND.

Expanding influence on other COP28 side-event

Apart from hosting the side-event, the members of the Project SIGND team also participated in “Loss and Damage, Human Rights, and State and Corporate Accountability” co-organized by the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Asociación La Ruta del Clima, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Climate Action Network (CAN) – Latin America, International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) – Asia Pacific. The event featured representatives from various international organizations, providing a diverse range of perspectives.

Dagani participated in the open forum, highlighting the experiences of the Filipino Deaf Community in climate change contexts. She emphasized the critical need for the inclusion of the d/Deaf community in climate discussions and advocated for a rights-based, inclusive approach to climate policies.

Her intervention underlined the importance of integrating the unique challenges and perspectives of the Deaf community, aligning with Project SIGND’s mission to bridge local realities with broader climate conversations. This event also offered Project SIGND valuable opportunities for networking and gaining deeper insights into global discussions on climate change.

Seizing the opportunity, Project SIGND set ambitious and clear objectives for its participation at COP28, and their influence is poised to extend far beyond the conference, as the Project continues to champion inclusive climate action here at home.To learn more about Project SIGND and to download reports on the situation of the Filipino Deaf community and climate change, go to