Launch of Special Initiative to Address Climate Change Impact

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 14, 2017

This year's climate talks mark the first time a member of the Alliance for Small Island States (AOSIS) has held the Presidency.

"Less than 1.5% of global finance for climate change adaptation is allocated to projects which ensure that the health of all people is preserved, and only a fraction of this supports small island developing states". "We owe it to these people to do everything we can to help them prepare for the future that is already washing up on their shores".

United Nations on Tuesday called on the participants of the Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, to adopt a coordinated policy approach in order to achieve zero hunger and ensure food security across the world by 2030.

Frank Bainimarama, Fijian prime minister and president of the conference, said: "We in Fiji know all too well that climate change poses a serious threat to the health of our people".

"Small islands are in the frontline from extreme weather events that can contaminate drinking water to health-hazardous heatwaves and the spread of infectious diseases".

According to CARICOM, this comes against the backdrop of the unprecedented climate disaster events which struck the Caribbean in September 2017, the opportunity looms large to focus the world's attention on the peculiar vulnerabilities of Small Island and low-lying coastal countries. Their situation was highlighted in the UNFCCC, by Ministers of Health at the 2008 World Health Assembly, and in the 2015 Paris Agreement. As well as emitting a small proportion of the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change, many are further reducing their already low carbon emissions.

"Small Island Developing States are ready to take leadership towards green, resilient and health-promoting national development-but the support of the global community is essential", said Dr Joy St John, the Assistant Director-General for Climate and Other Determinants of Health at WHO.

They have also pioneered innovative approaches to improve the resilience of their health systems to climate change.

Health-related costs resulting from climate change are expected to hit between $2bn and $4bn a year by 2030, but not enough worldwide finance goes to small island states.

The planet Earth, when viewed from space, is a world without borders, he said, and "it reminds us of the need for a global outlook, worldwide cooperation and solidarity, and a shared strategy" when it comes to caring for the environment.

Country ownership was a central principle of this initiative as Ministers of health from some of the most affected countries have already started to provide input through consultation with WHO's Director-General and at WHO Regional Committee meetings. There, governments were looking at how they could better meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, which aims to control global temperature increases by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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