Min. Lawrence calls on WHO member states to heed effects of climate change

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence called on WHO member states to be mindful of the effects of climate change.  The Minister made this call during a presentation at a side-meeting, at the ongoing World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence making her presentation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

Detailing the facts related to this phenomenon that indicate a threat to countries worldwide is real the Minister queried, “Why do we have to still ask ourselves whether climate change is real?”

She noted that the direct and indirect effects would significantly affect human development and well-being of all people negatively. “Is it that we are looking at each other to act when we should be acting?” Minister Lawrence asked. She reminded that health systems are tested in the event of a natural disaster hence the need to take heed of the warnings. Reference was made to recent effects relating to climate change, experienced by Guyana. These included the overtopping of seawalls on the West Coast of Demerara which flooded several communities and forced the temporary closure of a community hospital.

Minister Lawrence said that the Guyana Government is aware of the impact that climate change can have on its people and economy. As such the administration is collaborating with the United Nations to develop a Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) which will essentially result in improved human well-being, reduce environmental risk and promote social equity for all Guyanese.

“We as countries have a choice. We can choose not to pay heed to this threat and maintain a business as usual attitude or we can choose to cultivate a mindset set that is premised on being innovative and establish public policies which are propitious, purposive and cogent to mitigate these adverse effects, particularly, on health,” Minister Lawrence stated.

She explained that Caribbean countries have been mandated to embrace climate change awareness, develop strategies and policies which will promote inclusive economic growth and improve multidimensional progress, noting, “This is likely to tackle vulnerability at the household and individual level.”

“I would like to support a renewed call for us to consolidate our strengths for a collective voyage towards a path of deeper and a closely-knit union, by lifting our eyes beyond the differences, complexities and impediments and project them towards a unified approach towards this pervasive threat,” Minister Lawrence concluded.


By: Delicia Haynes.