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Samoa PM and Experts Call for Climate-Resilient Health Systems

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Climate resilience
Climate resilience

The 4th International Conference of Small Island States (SIDS4) held in Antigua and Barbuda this week served as a critical precursor to the Commonwealth People’s Forum and Heads of Government Meeting scheduled for October in Samoa.

Her Excellency Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, Prime Minister of Samoa, alongside an intergenerational panel of civil society experts and advocates from the Pacific and Caribbean regions, called for the establishment of climate-resilient health systems in small island states.

Small island states are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, facing rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and changing precipitation patterns. These environmental challenges pose an existential threat to their communities and ways of life.

Alisi Rabukawaqa, Conservationist and Environmental Activist, remarked: “Our communities are directly dependent on the environment, and any impact on the environment directly impacts them. Communities are resilient, but the repeated onslaught of severe cyclones pushes them into a perpetual state of resilience, affecting mental health.”

Ashley Lashley, UNICEF and CARICOM Youth Ambassador, highlighted: “Climate disasters disrupt young people’s access to education. We have already witnessed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Extreme weather events further hinder the development of our children.”

Kendell Vincent, Chairperson of the Caribbean Youth Council, urged: “We need to move from talk to action and continue investing in youth and civil society.”

Dr. James Hospedales, Public Health Expert, called for: “Commonwealth heads of government should prioritize the development of climate-resilient health systems across all their political platforms.”

This call to action underscores the urgent need for robust health systems capable of withstanding the increasing frequency and intensity of climate-related events, ensuring the health and well-being of communities in small island states.

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