Climate Change and NCDs in the Caribbean

by Ian Pitts

Climate Change and NCDs in the Caribbean

In August 2019, the HCC was invited to represent the Caribbean as one of the priority countries/regions of the Lancet Countdown over the period 2019-2023 based on the region’s extreme vulnerabilities to climate change. As a participating priority region, the HCC hosted the first Lancet Countdown Launch Event in the Caribbean to officially launch the 2019 Report. The event Climate Change and NCDs in the Caribbean, the Caribbean launch of the 2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Report, took place at the Radisson Aquatica Hotel, Barbados on Thursday December 19th following  the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 25th Conference of Parties (COP) negotiations which was held this year in Madrid, Spain from December 2nd – 13th.

The invited guests and assembled media listened intently to the presentations made by the distinguished array of speakers, Dr Carlene Radix, HCC Director gave some background to the report, the Hon. Lt Col. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and  Wellness, Barbados, gave his high level remarks, presentations followed from Dr. James Fletcher of SOLORICON, Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. Georgiana Gordon-Strachan, Programme Coordinator for the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience, Caribbean, UWI and finally Dr Nick Watts, Executive Director, Lancet Countdown who presented the The Lancet Countdown 2019 Report.

When we think of climate change, we talk about hurricanes, fires, sea-level rise and ocean acidification, but often do not think about health impacts, not only in terms of diseases but also the ability of small island developing states to deliver health care services properly owing to the impact of these events
Hon. Lt Col. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and  Wellness, Barbados

The Hon. Lt Col. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and  Wellness, Barbados, Climate Change and NCDs in the Caribbean

The Hon. Lt Col. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and  Wellness, Barbados

Dr Nick Watts, Executive Director, Lancet Countdown with a copy of the 2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Report

Dr Nick Watts, Executive Director, Lancet Countdown

Climate change and NCDs are two defining challenges of the 21st century. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as those found in the Caribbean, are on the frontlines of climate change suffering disproportionately major impacts. Climate change is undermining the foundations of good health; threatening the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the hospitals and clinics we depend on.

If sea levels rise by one metre, the Caribbean would lose 1,300 square kilometres of its land space, equivalent to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Anguilla. It would displace 110,000 people, destroy 149 tourist resorts, most of which are on the coast of our islands, five powerplants, 21 airports in the CARICOM region, and 567 square kilometres of roads
Dr. James Fletcher, SOLORICON

However, the response to climate change could offer the greatest global health opportunity. Co-organised by the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Caribbean Community  Climate  Change Centre (CCCCC), this event will highlight key findings from the 2019 report of the Lancet Countdown, share HCC’s advocacy plans to build awareness, and catalyse discussion on how to build on the response to climate change, NCDs and other health priorities in the Caribbean.

Dr Nick Watts, Executive Director, Lancet Countdown (right) presenting Sir Trevor Hassell with a copy of the Lancet Countdown Report

Dr Nick Watts, Executive Director, Lancet Countdown (right) presenting Sir Trevor Hassell with a copy of the 2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Report

Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

Launch Event Goal, Objectives & Partners

Goal:

To raise the profile and stimulate action on climate change and health in the Caribbean among the political leadership, civil society organisations, the private sector and the general public.

Climate Change and NCDs in the CaribbeanObjectives:

  1. To launch the Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change 2019 Report.
  2. To engage high-level policymakers around climate change and health.
  3. To share HCC advocacy plans to support the climate change and health/NCD agenda in the Caribbean.
  4. To jointly strategise on how to build on the response to climate change, NCDs and other health priorities in the Caribbean.

Partners:

  • Lancet Countdown
  • Barbados Ministry of Health and Wellness
  • Barbados National NCD Commission
  • Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC)
  • Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission
  • Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
  • Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
  • CIBC First Caribbean COMTRUST
  • Sagicor Life Inc.

Read the Concept Note and Programme here.

Climate change has an impact on food security and food sources, the temperature of oceans, erosion of soil, unpredictability of weather for agriculture, temperature extremes leading to increased vector-borne illnesses, and people suffering from non-communicable diseases are worst affected in these circumstances
Dr. Carlene Radix, HCC Director

Speakers:

High Level RemarksHon. Lt Col. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and  Wellness, Barbados (video courtesy of OECS)

Live Stream recording (video courtesy of OECS)

Other videos can be seen on the HCC Facebook page:

Related media coverage:

More photos from the launch:

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