Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris addressing the press at the Defeat-NCD Partnership media briefing.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – There is an inseparable link between climate change and the increased incidences of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said on Sept. 24 during his presentation at the launch of the Defeat-NCD Partnership initiative at the United Nations Headquarters.

Addressing a joint media briefing on NCDs following the Defeat-NCD Partnership launch, Prime Minister Harris said climate change is a major hindrance to the Caribbean region’s economies, which also “undermines our ability to live up to the financing obligations that are required if we are to defeat NCDs.

“Climate change with its implications for agriculture and fisheries undermines our food security and in fact therefore denies our population’s access to cheap food, affordable food and plant-based food,” Dr. Harris explained. “In that regard we have as part of our staple diet in the region an overabundance of salty, fatty foods, which need to be replaced.”

The Prime Minister said climate change and its inextricable link to NCDs will be discussed at length when the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), meets jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO). Concerned groups will meet on Oct. 16 and 17, during the Caribbean meeting of the geographically dispersed III Global Conference on Health and Climate Change, with a special focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

That meeting in St. George’s, Grenada, will be attended by ministers of health, ministers of environment, partner agencies, and stakeholders from Caribbean SIDS. They will discuss and identify actions and indicators for an Action Plan on Health and Climate Change to be implemented in the Caribbean.

Dr. Harris continued, “Climate change impacts negatively on our own ability to move forward—to advance our development agenda, and like the question of NCDs. They are reflections of the symptoms of the failure in the development paradigm. For all of these things to be successfully addressed we need a new world order of cooperation and development among the world entities.”

Prime Minister Harris encouraged all relevant parties to support the objectives of the Defeat-NCD Partnership, which seeks to help tackle this significant global health problem.

The partnership was launched on the margins of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly. Its initial focus will be on diabetes and hypertension, with expansion to other NCDs in due course.

“We look forward to scaling up all of our activities at national capacity,” Dr. Harris said. “These include building, financing, creating better efficiencies and effectiveness in the marketplace, which will enable sustainable development goals to be delivered.”

The prime minister’s United Nations agenda continued on Sept. 25 with his participation in the UN General Assembly General Debate. Sept. 26 he expects to attend a high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis.