Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health: Fifth Meeting: Climate Change and Health, Nadi, Fiji, 20-22 August 2019

World Health Organization (2019) Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health: Fifth Meeting: Climate Change and Health, Nadi, Fiji, 20-22 August 2019.


The Fifth Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health was convened in Nadi, Fiji, from 20 to 22 August 2019. The meeting was chaired by the His Excellency Sir Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji, with support from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services of Fiji and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for
the Western Pacific. The meeting was attended by 49 parliamentarians from 20 countries. The meeting aimed to enhance the role of parliamentarians in addressing the health impacts of climate change.
Participants reviewed progress to date on achieving the health-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). Participants highlighted the role that parliamentarians can play in achieving health in the SDGs through their power to enact legislation, pass budgets, mobilize resources, and ensure government accountability and transparency. The catalytic energy that parliamentarians have can lead to progress towards achieving the SDGs.
Parliamentarians were presented with information highlighting the breadth of the health impacts of climate change in Asia and the Pacific and the immediacy of the threat that climate change poses to human health. The health risks from climate change include the following:
• heat-related illness and death, cardiovascular failure;
• forced migration, civil conflict, mental health impacts;
• malnutrition, diarrheal disease;
• cholera, cryptosporidiosis, campylobacter, leptospirosis, harmful algal blooms;
• respiratory allergies, asthma from increasing allergens;
• malaria, dengue, encephalitis, hantavirus, Rift Valley fever, Lyme disease, chikungunya, West
Nile virus;
• asthma, cardiovascular disease from air pollution;
• and injuries, fatalities and mental health impacts from severe weather.
When considering responses to the health impacts of climate change, participants were urged to put human health at the centre of the climate change discussion and to ensure that health systems are climate resilient. Additionally, participants were urged to focus on actions where co-benefits beyond
the direct policy goal were possible. During the plenary discussions about the health impacts of climate change and the responses to the risks, many participants highlighted the impact of climate change on mental health and the lack of understanding and research in this area.
When addressing the health impacts of climate change, many participants highlighted the importance of mitigation and adaptation working together to address the issues. Participants shared examples of their legislative initiatives, funding programmes, and specific mitigation and adaptation projects that they have undertaken. Participants from smaller countries noted the disproportionate difficulty and expense of adaptation projects where there are small budgets and populations.
During the field visits in Lautoka, Fiji, participants were able to witness a sea-wall construction project and its impact on the community and the work of a nongovernmental organization focused on local sustainable economic development and environmental stewardship. Participants also viewed planned village with examples of climate-resilient affordable housing and a clinic providing HIV/ AIDS treatment.Parliamentarians adopted the Nadi Communique, declaring climate change to be a
crisis that presents one of the most critical threats to health in all countries in Asia and the Pacific. Parliamentarians noted that the very existence of some nations is at risk and recognized that a failure to act on the climate crisis will result in preventable injuries, illnesses and deaths.
Parliamentarians urged their fellow parliamentarians to strengthen legal frameworks, advocate the
inclusion of health in all relevant portfolios, and engage in international partnerships, platforms and coalitions to address the climate crisis and the health impacts it creates. Finally, parliamentarians requested that WHO and the Forum Secretariat continue to provide normative guidance and technical assistance to countries in their efforts to address the health impacts of climate change, and to develop innovative mechanisms to scale up support to Member States.

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