13 Nov 2017

COP23 Plan to protect health as climate changes

6:52 pm on 13 November 2017
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Photo: World Health Organisation

The United Nations has launched an initiative to protect people in Small Island Developing States from the health impacts of climate change.

The World Health Organisation and the UN Climate Change secretariat have drafted a strategy at the COP23 meeting in Bonn, Germany in partnership with Fiji who proposed the move.

Fiji's Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, is the COP23 President, and said Fijians are well aware climate change poses a serious threat to health.

He said this plan will better equip small island states with knowledge, resources and technology to increase the resilience of their health systems.

The plan aims to climate-proof health systems, collect evidence for investment and triple international financial support to small island states.

Currently less than 1.5% of international finance for climate change adaptation is allocated to health projects, and only a fraction of this to small island states.

The WHO said people living in Small Island Developing States are on the frontline of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and increased risk of infectious diseases and larger nations must to do everything they can to help them prepare for the future that is already washing up on their shores.

They said their vision is for all health systems in Small Island Developing States to be able to withstand climate change and for countries around the world to substantially reduce carbon emissions by 2030.

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