Digital platforms are key in SIDS' collective effort to build resilience to global carbon emissions

SIDS are innovating ways to face the threats and recover from the drastic impacts of climate change. The lives of almost 1.9 billion people in the Western Pacific are at risk due to the harmful toxic emissions. These dramatic effects are reflected in the number of deaths each year, leading to 3.5 million people in the region losing their lives as a result of indoor and outdoor air pollution. Health agencies can help to make the case for health co-benefits of reducing carbon emissions through the deployment of tools such as the AIRQ+ air pollution estimator, which supports cross-sectoral dialogue on the health effects of exposure to air pollution. Also, the Carbon Reduction Benefits on Health (CaRBonH) calculation tool helps in quantifying the physical and economic benefits of improving air quality on human health. Moreover, the GreenUr calculator for green spaces helps to quantify the health impacts of having greener spaces.

There is an urgent need to invest in building climate-resilient infrastructure and technology, so that when extreme climate events hit, the health systems would still be able to function. Many SIDS are already making the transition to 100 percent renewable energy and deploying the usage of non-burning machines to get rid of medical waste in health facilities, such as Fiji and Samoa and Vanuatu. Hence, enhancing the sustainability of health services in SIDS will guarantee that health systems are able to contribute to the reduction of the environmental impact of their services, and to continue serving their people while facing the drastic effects of climate change.

Image: Sam Lawrence Photography/Shutterstock

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