100 signatures reached
To: Senate Committee, Office of the Vice President, the President, LGUs, NGOs, Academic Institutions, Healthcare Sector
Demanding Accountability for Climate Change
National Government to:
1. Follow-up on the declaration of Climate Emergency by Congress. Advocate and create policies to ensure communities, and healthcare infrastructure to withstand local hazards and enable services to be provided in the aftermath of an emergency;
2. Make concrete commitments to build back better and invest in instituting clear frameworks to upscale resilience-building initiatives throughout the country alongside improving Nationally Determined Contribution commitments to the Paris Agreement;
3. Develop, disseminate, and implement climate change awareness programs through advertisements, seminars, training, encouragement of public participation, access to credible information, and partnerships with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR);
4. Partner with Climate Change Services of the DENR, and DOST-PAGASA to provide up-to-date information about the determinants of disasters, and their impact on the general public by doing evidence-based and data-driven approaches especially during a global pandemic;
5. Collaborate with NDRRMC and DOH to provide effective and comprehensive resilience-building programs which include disaster preparedness and response plans that are tailored to tropical low to middle-income countries;
6. Invest in specialists (e.g. epidemiologists, environmentalists, climatologists) with strong response capabilities and sustainable solutions that can be contextualized to challenging times such as that of a global pandemic;
7. Work in partnership with non-environmental government agencies, and collaborate to design and provide opportunities for other sectors of the government to be aware of and to respond effectively to different environmental and health emergencies; and
8. Address and neutralize false information with credible and evidence-based dissemination of information to the general public.
Local Government Units to:
1. Collaborate and cooperate with the National government and NGOs to adequately prepare for future disasters and other climate change impacts;
2. Increase the allocation of funds for the CDRRM and resilience-building programs and measures;
3. Properly educate their constituents through swift information dissemination strategies in preparation for future disasters and other climate change impacts.
4. Assign community leaders and staff with proper training in disaster preparedness and planning.
5. Conduct regular resilience assessments and work continuously to build community resilience to climate and other threats. Upscale this and make it standard practice.
Non-Government Organizations to:
1. Collaborate and streamline efforts with the national authorities and local communities to achieve the agenda on climate justice and evoke behavior change to reduce our carbon footprint;
2. Continue creating networks with different stakeholders and create an open-access database that would champion best resilience practices and document the lessons on various strategies in climate change resilience including adaptation;
3. Initiate community resilience-building programs that incorporate robust resilience assessment and improvement tools and skills. Conduct training of trainers programs on building community resilience to climate change impacts and upscale these initiatives as widely as possible from community to community through community leaders.
4. Continue engagement of local industries and multinational corporations in promoting social and environmental change particularly in their operations and value-chain activity.
5. Monitor and call on corporations to be responsible for their ecological implications.
Academic Institutions to:
1. Inculcate climate change, planetary health, and resilience into curricula and emphasize its centrality to securing the future for generations to come (e.g. DRRM courses and training)
2. Set greenhouse emissions and carbon footprint reduction goals through the adoption of sustainable practices in all aspects of their operation;
3. Prepare and equip their students and staff via advocacy programs and drills for possible climate-related risks such as floods, heatwaves, tropical cyclones, and water scarcity;
4. Support student-led initiatives to address climate change, and collaborate with them to encourage student and faculty participation.
Healthcare Sector to:
1. Lead the people through example by making sustainable and environment-friendly facilities by transitioning to a low-carbon health system and utilizing renewable energy to minimize the impacts on climate change;
2. Address existing issues about climate change that are affecting the public health such as increased incidence of respiratory diseases due to increasing ground-level ozone and/or particulate matters in the environment as well as the occurrence of card
Why is this important?
In the face of a pandemic, climate change remains to be one of the defining issues of our time. Some of the impacts already evident in the Philippines include decreased water availability, extreme heat, and stronger, more frequent typhoons. The series of typhoons that recently hit the country and the destruction that it left behind verifies the authenticity of climate change. The Philippines is the most vulnerable to climate-related events. Unfortunately, the present pandemic has only managed to further cripple the health sector and expose the discrepancies of the nation’s response. Climate change significantly affects the environment, economy, and healthcare system of the country. It disproportionately affects vulnerable populations (elderly, children, indigenous communities, women, and coastal populations) and low-income and middle-income countries, leaving them victims of climate emergencies and placing the burden of disease on those least responsible. Maintaining vigilance about this issue allows communities to take action on attainable goals and preempt future difficulties that this country has yet to confront.
AMSA Philippines’ Position
As a national organization that places health at its forefront, the Asian Medical Students’ Association - Philippines believes that it is time to declare a climate emergency follow-up on the climate change framework following the recent declaration of Climate Emergency by the Congress. Climate change is not only bounded by the ruination caused by extreme climate events. The extent of human contribution to its modernization and aggravation should also be scrutinized. In actuality, various repercussions also need to be factored in such as the loss of livelihood, the dramatic increase in mental health problems, and a shortage of basic needs such as food and water. This statement is to address the insufficient measures that the government is implementing to build a more disaster-resilient country and its enforcement in imposing stricter environmental regulations to major climate change contributors in this country. Furthermore, other stakeholders are called to further engage themselves to this aim.
Currently, it appears that the national government — which are responsible for implementing policies, mobilizing efforts, and exhibiting strength through its dedication to climate policy and institutional reform agenda on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction (CCAM-DRR), does not fully understand the importance of anthropogenic accelerated climate change and how much it gravely impacts us. Climate change goes beyond extreme climate events (ECEs). Climate change, together with processes like urbanization and environmental degradation have impacts on food and nutrition security, agriculture, community-based disaster risk reduction, mental health and so much more. The environment is continuously threatened, primarily by the actions of big corporations that exploit our natural resources. It is imperative that the absence of specific measures to establish resilience to the effects of climate change be addressed and mitigate its causes to overcome the challenges of dealing with the macroprudential deficits, restoring growth, minimizing poverty. A partnership with the private and public sectors is necessary to understand the risk that requires considering not just climate change, but also current and future vulnerability and exposure.
According to a report by the World Input-Output Database stated in the Healthcare Climate Footprint 2019, the healthcare sector is one of the industries that contribute to carbon emissions and plastic wastes. Healthcare’s operational emissions produce 4.4% of the total climate footprint. The healthcare sector has a vital role in protecting the health and wellbeing of populations from the impacts of climate change. Leadership, guidance, and regulatory roles from healthcare professionals have great significance with regards to health-determining factors, such as emergency planning, and recuperation in the aftermath. Therefore, as future health professionals, it is our responsibility to understand that the mechanism of the adverse effects of climate change has both direct and indirect impacts on the communities around us. Direct consequences being deaths, injuries, psychological effects, and various diseases. While the indirect consequences of disasters not only refer to the loss of primary health care, living conditions, limited or no access to administration, but also damages to health care systems regarding external infrastructure such as the provision of water and/or electricity. As evidence shows the impact of climate change, there is a need for collaboration between all stakeholders in the country, and all must work together efficiently and synergistically to save lives.
We must first start by calling to action the local government units and the national government, and by working with NGOs and academic institutions to refrain from band-aid solutions and shift the climate change response into a multisectoral approach and adapt the health in all policy. This would require all stakeholders to work in a coordinated manner, in a single climate change strategy and coordinating mechanism. Lastly, the curricula of institutions at all levels, particularly in medical education, should include the health effects of climate change such as malnutrition, threats to mental health, increased respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and infections caused by food, water, and vector-borne diseases.