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Realities of climate change

Shayal Devi
Saturday, February 10, 2018

CLIMATE change undermines the environmental determinants of health, especially clean air and water, sufficient food and adequate shelter, says Health Minister Rosy Akbar.

Ms Akbar made the statement while speaking at the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union media summit in Nadi this week.

She said climate change could increase the risks of extreme weather events and infectious diseases.

"Although all populations are at risk, some are more vulnerable than others," she said.

"Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are in the front line, encompassing the range of acute to long-term risks, from more extreme floods and storms to increased risks of water-borne and food-borne infectious diseases, to sea-level rise threatening healthcare facilities situated in coastal areas."

Ms Akbar said Pacific island countries were working hard to address the escalating realities of climate change. This included the impact on land, livelihoods and on the food and water security of vulnerable communities.

"The need for accessible, predictable, adequate and appropriate financial support to meet the climate crisis in developing countries is urgent and growing.

"Access to climate finance is a matter of global justice.

"Those who have contributed least to the causes of climate change are typically the most vulnerable to its impacts and have the least resources to respond.

"Climate change presents an increasingly existential challenge to people in the Pacific region. Over the coming decades, large numbers of Pacific people and in some cases, entire nations, face displacement from their homes and livelihoods."

She reiterated the need for easier access to predictable, scalable sources of grant-based climate adaptation finance to help Pacific communities adapt and build resilience.

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