Inform Action- Climate Change and Health

Climate change is one of the greatest modern challenges facing Pacific Island countries and territories. It is imperative
that communities are well equipped to adapt to the effects of
climate change. The health sector is one of the most vulnerable
to climate change; the region’s health ministers have identified
climate change as a key priority area. They committed
to assessing the health vulnerabilities to climate change,
strengthening health systems to manage the effects of climate
change, and mobilising communities to increase their resilience
to these effects (Madang Commitment 2009). Following this
commitment, a number of national climate change and health
vulnerability and adaptation assessments have been conducted,
and these have informed the development of national climate
change and health action plans (see article in Inform’ACTION 36).
To further inform and discuss national and regional climate change and health initiatives, the first Pacific Regional
Climate Change and Health Symposium was held from 13
to 15 September 2012. The symposium was hosted by the
University of Fiji and supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific
Community, the World Health Organization and the Fiji Ministry
of Health. The event brought together over 130 key stakeholders
from a number of Pacific Island countries and territories, as
well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea. They included
researchers, academics, policy-makers, representatives from
government and non-government sectors, and students.
The purposes of the event were to discuss the unique health vulnerabilities of Pacific communities in the context of
climate change, present the latest research findings, and plan
strategies to manage these risks. The theme was Improving
health through adaptation – strengthening health systems to
protect Pacific Island communities from the health impacts of
climate change.
Lively discussions took place in the symposium, which was divided into presentations, breakout sessions, roundtable
discussions and panel discussions. This article presents the
abstracts of the oral and poster presentations, and the outcome
statement from the symposium.
 

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