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PARLIAMENTARIANS PARTICIPATE IN ASIA-PACIFIC FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH

TUESDAY 3RD AUGUST 2019

Three Members of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands Health and Medical Services Committee attended the fifth Asia – Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health and climate change in Nadi, Fiji from 20th – 22th August 2019 among other Parliamentarians of 20 countries across the Asia- Pacific Region.

They are Hon. Rexon Annex Ramofafia – Chairman of the Health & Medical Services Committee, Hon. Robertson Galokale, Committee member, Hon. Anthony Veke, Minister for Provincial Government and Salome Pilumate of the Committee Secretariat Department.

The theme of the forum was on climate change and health.

The meeting dwell its discussion on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) working towards achieving its goals by 2030.

The outcome of the meeting are as follows:

  1. Our continuous commitment to prioritize, promote, and protect the health and wellbeing of all people, while leaving no one behind, through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
  2. Climate change was declared to be a crisis, it presents the most critical threat to health in all countries across the Asia-Pacific region therefore is expected to threaten the very existence of low-lying island nations due to sea-level rise and climate-related disasters;
  3. Recognize the wide-ranging health impacts of climate change, including injuries, illnesses, and deaths from storms, floods, drought, heatwaves, and other extreme weather; increased vector-borne and water-related diseases; food insecurity and malnutrition; displacement; and psychological stress;
  4. Are concerned that vulnerable communities and marginalized groups are most severely affected by the health impacts of climate change, including the poor, women and children, persons with disabilities, older people, migrants, refugees and the geographically isolated. The need to recognize that health impacts of climate change can affect economic growth and development;
  5. Taking proactive actions to increase preparedness can reduce some risks to health and health infrastructure projected for later in the century, and that adaptation policies and measures alone will unlikely be able to prevent all impacts;
  6. Acknowledge that reducing emissions from other sectors, such as transport, energy, food production, water resources, and urban planning, has significant health, social, and economic co-benefits;
  7. Recognize the climate crisis as both a threat and an opportunity for countries to strengthen their climate-resilient health systems, which are critical for national security, economy, and public safety. Therefore the urgent need for action through a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, with political support at the highest levels, to mitigate, adapt to, and respond to the climate crisis
  8. Recognize that a failure to act on the climate crisis will result in preventable injuries, illnesses, and deaths, losses to infrastructure, losses to traditional knowledge and intangible cultural heritage, and reversal of health and development gains made with impact on future generations thus an effective response to the climate crisis requires action and coordination across local, national, and global levels.

The forum also urge fellow parliamentarians to advocate and strengthen six areas:

  1. Advocate for the inclusion of health in all of our relevant portfolios and projects to address the climate crisis as the core of our political, economic and development agendas;
  2. Strengthen legal frameworks to enhance governance across sectors and ensure policy coherence for an effective and sustainable response to address the impacts of climate change on health, as well as health systems;
  3. Approve sufficient national appropriations and mobilize sustainable financing, such as through global climate financing mechanisms, as appropriate, to enable governments to address the health impacts of climate change, including through climate-resilient health systems;
  4. Approve sufficient national appropriations and mobilize sustainable financing, such as through global climate financing mechanisms, as appropriate, to enable governments to address the health impacts of climate change, including through climate-resilient health systems;
  5. Represent the interests of our constituencies to ensure that the needs of local communities are met and to empower their participation in the responses to climate change and health;
  6. Maintain oversight to facilitate coordination across sectors and ensure government accountability and transparency in the implementation of policies to address the health impacts of climate change;
  7. Engage in international partnerships, platforms, and coalitions, including the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health, to share experiences between countries and strengthen international cooperation for climate action.

The Republic of Fiji, with support from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services hosted this important meeting with the aim to demonstrate national and regional leadership in addressing climate change and health.

The local government and communities of Lautoka also share their experiences to illustrate the health impacts of the responses to climate change crisis at the local level.

The World Health Organization advocates for climate crisis as one of the top priorities for health and wellbeing in the Asia – Pacific Region.

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