Andrew Okaikoi, Founder of Gravitas World and President of the Centre for Disability, Entrepreneurship, and Public Policy
Andrew Okaikoi, Founder of Gravitas World and President of the Centre for Disability, Entrepreneurship, and Public Policy

Increase support to safeguard PwDs — Centre for Disability

The Founder of Gravitas World and President of the Centre for Disability, Entrepreneurship, and Public Policy (CDEPP), Andrew Okaikoi, has called for increased support and comprehensive measures to safeguard people with disabilities amid the growing threats posed by climate change.

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He noted that while climate change affected everyone, those with disabilities often faced disproportionate risks due to barriers in mobility, communication, and access to emergency services.

He emphasised the unique vulnerabilities faced by people with disabilities during climate-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and heatwaves. "People with disabilities are among the most marginalised in our society, and climate change exacerbates this marginalisation. So we need targeted policies and inclusive disaster response strategies that address the specific needs of this vulnerable group,” he said.

Event

He was speaking via zoom at the 2024 Asian Leadership Conference (ALC), held in Seoul, South Korea. Dubbed: “The Era of Hyper-Uncertainty: Innovative Leadership for the New Future,” it is focused on addressing the urgent environmental issues facing the world and exploring sustainable solutions for the future.

The conference brought together distinguished leaders, policymakers, and experts including former United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo; former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern; Prince of Liechtenstein, Nikolaus von Liechtenstein; President of Seoul National University, Ryu Hong Lim and among others. 

International Cooperation

Mr Okaikoi emphasised the global nature of climate change and the critical need for international cooperation, thereby highlighting its severe impacts on the country. He highlighted the multifaceted challenges the country faced due to climate change, which had significant economic, environmental, and social repercussions.

He pointed out that unpredictable weather patterns, such as droughts and floods, severely affected agriculture, leading to decreased crop yields and food insecurity. That, he said, had particularly, endangered cocoa production, a key export for Ghana adding that rising temperatures and humidity had exacerbated health issues, with increased incidences of diseases like cholera and malaria.

Mr Okaikoi said despite the country’s unfavorable economic circumstances, it had created a National Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan with the goal of strengthening early warning systems for extreme weather conditions, encouraging climate-smart agriculture, and improving water management.

He added that the country introduced a tree-planting exercise where about a million trees were expected to be planted every year to boost the nation’s afforestation drive. 

Unified action

Mr Okaikoi emphasised the necessity for unified action saying “climate change is a global challenge that requires a global response. So by coming together and having dialoques, we can share knowledge, devise innovative solutions, and commit to actionable steps that will benefit not only Asia but the entire world.”

The conference, he said was expected to yield significant insights and proposals that would influence policy decisions and environmental strategies worldwide. He stressed that collaborative efforts were  aimed to pave the way for a sustainable and resilient future. 

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