10.227 Grilled Fish

10.227

20 (Tue) August 2019

Grilled Fish

2.0

in my room

(Pullman Nadi Bay Resort and Spa)

-Wailoaloa Beach, Nadi, Fiji-

solo

Mission to Fiji, Day 11.

In Nadi.  Here for the Fifth Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health: August 20 (today) to 22 (Thursday).  Having already spent 41 days in/to/from Fiji over the past year across 5 missions to prepare for the meeting (see most recently 10.192 Rourou Moci), and looking ahead to another 4 days through the end of the meeting and the return trip home, I am overwhelmed that it is finally happening.

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The meeting is hosted by the Parliament of the Republic of the Fiji and chaired by the Speaker, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, with support from WHO. 48 parliamentarians from 20 countries are attending. The theme of the meeting is climate change and health.

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Climate change threatens health everywhere.   The health impacts of climate change, increased in terms of both frequency and severity, include:

  • Increased injuries, illnesses, and deaths from storms, floods, drought, heatwaves, and other extreme weather
  • Increased vector-borne and water-related diseases, like dengue, malaria, and typhoid fever
  • Increased food insecurity, leading to malnutrition, and increased risk of noncommunicable diseases
  • Increased respiratory disease and diarrhoeal disease from polluted air and water
  • Increased risk to social and economic well-being due to displacement and decimated livelihoods
  • Increased psychological stress

Although the nature of the challenges varies, the issues call for critical policy debate and urgent response from the health sector through a multisectoral, whole-of-government approach in all Member States. Countries can transform health systems to be proactive in prevention and preparedness, as well as response and recovery.

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The Honourable Speaker of Parliament, Sir Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, a dedicated and passionate champion of health, giving the keynote address.  Five years ago, at the National Workshop on Noncommunicable Diseases & the Law – which I had attended as my third duty travel – he had delivered the opening remarks, then as President of the country.   I am so privileged that my first and final (8th) missions to this country were blessed by speeches from this great leader.

To address the impacts of climate change on health, parliamentarians can play a critical role by:

  • Strengthening legal frameworks to address climate change and health, and to enhance governance through coordination across sectors;
  • Approving budgets and securing sustainable financing, including through global climate financing mechanisms;
  • Monitoring implementation of policies for climate change to ensure government accountability and transparency;
  • Providing political support to give stronger voice to health leaders in national, regional and global discussions on climate change and health;
  • Fostering collaboration among all elements of society in contributing to action on climate change; and
  • Engaging in regional, national, and local partnershipsbto facilitate information sharing and to facilitate cross-border/cross-jurisdictional cooperation.

Parliamentarian Group Photo

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