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Embracing the Challenge: Cop28

COP28 is the 28th annual United Nations (UN) climate meeting where governments will discuss how to limit and prepare for future climate change. The summit was held in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 30 November until 12 December 2023. CityMaaS' CEO, Rene Perkins, was there to attend, hear her reflection on the event and about accessibility & inclusion in the climate arena.

The Stakes Have Never Been Higher

Climate change is no longer a distant threat. It's a present crisis, evident in the intensifying natural disasters, rising sea levels, and unpredictable weather patterns. These changes disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations, underscoring the need for equitable and effective solutions. COP 28 must prioritize actions that bridge the gap between developed and developing nations, ensuring a just transition to a sustainable future.

A Call for Enhanced Commitments

One of the critical aspects of COP 28 will be to assess the progress of the commitments made under the Paris Agreement. Nations are expected to come forward with updated and more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius. It's imperative that these new commitments reflect not only heightened ambition but also realistic pathways to achieve them.

Rene's Reflection

  • Many sustainable leaders discussed on the ground level how intellectually stimulating but yet mentally draining it is due to the complexity of achieving climate goals.

  • Taking actions on climate change may not make an impact if clear pathway is not forged and implemented diligently.

  • Disappointingly there were really focus talks on climate change efforts impacting the disabled community nor how it affects inclusion for all human beings.

  • Are efforts and initiatives truly green or a tick box exercise? A question can only truly be answered when every aspect of the initiatives are carried out meticulously and persistently by passionate leaders and operators.

How Can Cop28 Become Digitally Accessible?

A large takeaway of mine is the data, speaker sessions and great output of Cop28 is not able to be digitally accessed for those with accessibility requirements. By implementing CityMaaS' Assist Me product, this would allow the website to be tailored to the accessibility need, however further suggestions I have are:

  • Imagine a web portal for COP28 that adheres to WCAG guidelines, offering text alternatives for images (like graphs showing climate change trends), captions and sign language interpretation for videos, and easy-to-navigate layouts for people with mobility impairments. Use our free Compliance tool check AWARE your website now.

  • Accessible digital platforms for policy discussions allow people with disabilities to participate in crafting climate policies, ensuring diverse perspectives are included.

  • The development of low-emission, energy-efficient technologies that are also accessible can contribute to both climate goals and inclusivity. For instance, accessible public transport apps that promote the use of greener transport options.

The intersection of digital accessibility and climate change, particularly in global events like COP28, underscores a holistic approach to sustainability and inclusivity. It's about ensuring that the fight against climate change doesn't leave behind people with disabilities, who are often among the most affected by environmental changes. This intersection is an evolving field, reflecting the dynamic nature of both digital innovation and climate action.

Alt Text: Collection of photos featured at Cop28, CityMaaS CEO infront of a colourful tree that reads "Island of Hope", another featuring a poll of biggest barriers to collaborative action from public and private finance to scale up climate action, other pictures include two panels of experts on stage.

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