Dr Colin Tukuitonga, who recently completed his final term as Director-General of the Pacific Community (SPC), discusses why the Pacific is taking an integrated approach to tackling noncommunicable diseases – the leading cause of death in the region, and the devastating health impacts of climate change.
“While debate over the existence of climate change continues in some parts of the world, here in the Pacific it has become a fact of life.”
The Pacific region is home to a diverse community encompassing many unique traditions, cultures and experiences. The generally small island nations are spread across one of the largest and most important regions on earth. With small populations dependent on living in harmony with the natural environment, the people of the Pacific Islands are finding themselves at the forefront of some of today’s more serious global challenges. Among the greatest of these are climate change and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
Climate change will have significant and damaging effects on communities and economies over the coming decades. The WHO estimates that globally, there will be an additional 250,000 deaths every year between 2030 and 2050 due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress, and over $2 trillion USD in lost productivity…
Dr Colin Tukuitonga
Former Director-General, Pacific Community