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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Korea and WHO Join Hands to Respond to Climate Change Risks

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Korea and WHO Join Hands to Respond to Climate Change Risks

Korea and WHO Join Hands to Respond to the Risk of Climate Change Impacting on Malaria and Other Vectorborne Diseases in Western Pacific Region

Seoul, 28 January 2011 — Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on December 30, 2011 with the World Health Organization (WHO) for implementation of a project to ‘Strengthen control of vectorborne diseases (VBDs) to lessen the impact of climate change in the Western Pacific Regions with focus on Cambodia, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea'. The MOU defines cooperation between the two bodies as an effort to eliminate public health threats posed by climate change.
Under the MOU, total USD 1.2 million will be contributed to the project for a period of one year, from January 2011 to December 2011. During the project period, WHO and KOICA will transfer their resources and mandates to build capacity in selected countries – Cambodia, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea – to minimize consequences of VBDs to populations in areas that are prone to climate change. Aiming to strengthen preparedness and capacity to rapidly respond to VBD outbreaks in target countries, the project will develop strategic knowledge to better tackle climate change-induced VBDs and undertake extensive research on collecting data for climate variability.

The importance of the project underlines how strongly climate change and its influence on VBDs are correlated and why to tackle climate change to gain control of the disease. VBDs, endemic in 10 countries out of 11 Western Pacific regions, are climate change-sensitive disease, in which the selected countries, Cambodia, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea, are severely affected by. The key climate variables – temperature, rainfall and humidity – influence habitat suitability and the survival and reproductive rates of arthropod vectors, such as mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. Implementation of the project, therefore, will build capacity to respond to weather, affecting ability of these vectors to transmit disease, spatial and temporal patterns of VBD transmission. 

Upon execution, the project is expected to accomplish strengthened health system in Cambodia, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea to protect human health from current and projected risks due to climate change. Strategically architected activities associated with the project will be implemented in order to minimize increasing burden of climate change induced-VBDs in the target area, by establishing vector surveillance systems for key VBDs and developing early warning systems which utilize climate forecasting information and link with information for vector or human surveillance.

About East Asia Climate Partnership (EACP)
The East Asia Climate Partnership (EACP) is an international cooperation initiative by Korea aimed at combating climate change in partner countries and promoting sustainable growth in Asia. It was proposed by President Lee Myung-bak at the G8 Summit held in Toyako, Japan in June 2008. Korea is committed to providing a total of USD 200 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA) over the five years between 2008 and 2012. Various activities under the Partnership are led by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), which is dedicated to providing grant aid. They include technological exhibitions, policy consultation, ODA projects, research and development projects, and collaboration with international organizations including the UN. The support provided is customized to the environmental characteristics of the country and the region in question. Since 2009, 20 aid projects have been carried out for 10 countries (31 aid projects in 10 countries from 2008).

About Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
Established in 1991, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) develops and implements the Korean government’s grant aid programs. It is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. One of its key objectives is to play a leading role in the international community’s endeavor to eradicate poverty, provide humanitarian support, and enhance human security. As part of these efforts, among others, KOICA is working to support economic and social development in developing countries and committing to the implementation of UN Millennium Development Goals. In addition, in recognition of an urgent need to address climate change, the East Asia Climate Partnership is now under way.

Source: SCOOP


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