Support for sector

Delegates at the Meeting to Develop the Pacific Action Plan for the WHO Special Initiative on Climate Change and Health in Small Island Developing States in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Delegates at the Meeting to Develop the Pacific Action Plan for the WHO Special Initiative on Climate Change and Health in Small Island Developing States in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

FINANCIAL support is needed for the global health sector to combat the impacts of climate change.

This was emphasised by World Health Organization Climate and Other Determinants of Health assistant director general Dr Joy Saint John at the opening of a Meeting to Develop the Pacific Action Plan for the WHO Special Initiative on Climate Change and Health in Small Island Developing States in Nadi last week.

She said there was a need to mobilise resources for the health sector in climate action.

“Health has received very little climate finance to date,” she said.

“The guiding principle of this initiative that it is led by countries but it is important to know that is fully aligned with the global climate agenda.

“The original UN Framework Convention on Climate Change cites the protection of human health and wellbeing along with the natural environment and socioeconomic systems as the core justifications for international climate action.

“The Paris Agreement also refers to the right to health.”

She added that island nations would have to take ownership of the frameworks to ensure their programs received the support it needed.

She said the two-day discussions by WHO representatives and stakeholders would lead to a more comprehensive framework that would be used by small island developing states across the globe.

“The real building works starts here.

“We need you to define an ambitious but realistic action plan that will deliver and protect the health of our island people in the face of perhaps the greatest challenge we have ever confronted.”

Health Minister Rosy Akbar said she was encouraged by the announcement that financial support would be offered to the health sector.

“It is indeed very encouraging to note this initiative’s goal is to triple the level of the international financial control to climate and helping Small Island Developing States by 2030,” she said.

“Fiji as the COP23 president has welcomed this.

“Climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It has affected the national economy and has affected the lives of our people and communities today.”

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