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Human health tied to health of the planet: PM

September 9, 2021 4:35 pm
[Source: Fijian Government]

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has stressed that human health is not immune to global temperature rise.

Delivering his address via a recorded video at the IUCN World Conservation Congress High-Level Strategic Discussion in Marseille, France, Bainimarama says both the health of individuals and the general health of the community are tied intimately to the health of the planet.

The Prime Minister says the climate-fueled loss in biodiversity will be irreversible and some of these effects are immediate and impactful.

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This includes the damage violent storms cause to health care facilities which makes them unable to function at the very time they are most needed.

Bainimarama adds in Small Island Developing States, health care facilities are often in low-lying areas that are subject to flooding and storm surges, which makes them particularly vulnerable.

“There is an increase in hospital admissions and treatments from some of the same conditions and infectious diseases that surged in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston. Responding to this, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services of Fiji has been working to increase its capacity to monitor, assess and respond to climate-sensitive diseases in order to reduce health risks associated with climate change.”

Bainimarama also says it’s not only storms we’re worried about as the matter of biodiversity cannot be overlooked.

He adds studies have confirmed that many public health diseases are linked to the loss of biodiversity, which is due at least in large parts to climate change.

The Prime Minister reiterated the need for the world to recognize and embrace the fact that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to the present and future generations.

“In Fiji, we are taking a transformative approach by attacking the root of the problem. We are restoring and reversing biodiversity loss. We are planting 30 million trees and restoring and expanding mangroves, for example. And we are watching carefully for declines in species.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama added that Fiji is also strengthening the enforcement of environmental legislation, investing in ecosystem conservation and community-based management of natural resources.

Stating there is no time to lose, the Head of Government called on the global community to support nature-based solutions to addressing climate change and halting biodiversity loss.

The theme for the Congress is “Influence of Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change on Public Health.”

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