Southeast Asian health community calls for strong and urgent action ahead of COP26

Gaea Katreena Cabico –

October 12, 2021 | 3:30 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines – Health workers in Southeast Asia responding to the damage caused by climate change have called on leaders to step up climate action to avoid the greatest health threat facing humanity.

The Southeast Asian Climate and Health Alliance RISE on Tuesday urged the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to transform their health sectors to become resilient to the climate, sustainable and prepared for a pandemic.

The call precedes COP26, the key United Nations climate conference to be held in Glasgow, UK from October 31 to November 12.

“Forest fires, floods, heat waves and droughts impacting the health of people are on the increase around the world, exacerbating other health problems such as the pandemic,” said Dr Ronald Law, head of the health emergency management office of the health department.

“Without strong and urgent strategies for adaptation and carbon reduction, cities and rural communities in Southeast Asia will face an increased risk of infectious diseases and displacement of populations due to flooding, land degradation and severe typhoons as well as excessive morbidity from heart attacks. and stroke from deadly heat waves, and asthma and tuberculosis exacerbated by air pollution from fossil fuels, “he added.

Law stressed that integrating health and equity into climate policy will provide countries in Southeast Asia, one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change, the opportunity to protect health. populations, maximize returns on investment and strengthen support for urgent and necessary responses to the crisis.

Southeast Asian health professionals were represented in a letter calling on world leaders present at COP26 to avoid the worst health impacts of the climate crisis by limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C and placing the health at the heart of the summit.

The publication of the letter coincides with the release of a report by the World Health Organization, which calls on countries to make ambitious national climate commitments.

The United Nations health agency has recommended that climate interventions with the greatest health gains be prioritized, with health resilience included in planning. – with report from Agence France-Presse

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