United Arab Emirates Climate Change and Environment Minister Thani Al Zeyoudi (left) and Palau Health Minister Emais Roberts during the Climate Meeting held in Abu Dhabi in July 2019. (Contributed Photo)

KOROR, PALAU – Health Minister Emais Roberts stressed the importance of mobilizing new financial resources for health as part of climate change adaptation.

Roberts, in his speech during the First Climate and Health Ministers’ Meeting held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on July 1, had emphasized the impacts of climate change to human health adding that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Palau are among those who bear its brunt.

Roberts said that Palau’s concerns that are linked to climate and health include the increased risks from vector-borne diseases like dengue and zoonoses such as leptospirosis.

Palau’s Ministry of Health (MOH) reported July 11 that there were 28 new cases of dengue fever recorded between July 1 to 7 alone in Palau and one death. Since the declaration of dengue outbreak in the country on December 7, 2018, there had been a total of 264 dengue cases.

Minister Roberts, during the UAE meeting, also pointed out concern about the Belau National Hospital’s resilience to extreme weather.

“In responding to these concerns, the common thread lies in improving our technical capacities to fully assess and plan for these climate-and-health links. These capacities are needed so that we can implement interventions that will have the greatest impact on protecting health from climate-related risk,” Roberts said.

Palau also led a special ministerial session for SIDs in Abu Dhabi on June 30 where discussions on the small island nations’ goals towards energy transition were the main focus.

Palau’s delegates then had a bilateral meeting with the Abu Dhabi government officials.

 Along with Minister Roberts, Deputy Chief of Staff of the President Rebluud Kesolei and Palau Ambassador to the United Nations Olai Uludong also represented the country in the two-day convention. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)