Patrick Arioka was speaking at the annual Parliamentarian forum on global health in Fiji this week – but he said the solutions were within reach.
“Health and agriculture plays a major role in the Cook Islands in terms of food security,” he said.
“The impact of climate change is affecting health in a lot of ways, in the way food is being consumed as well as impact and effects of pest and diseases affecting the quality and nutrition of food.
“If I look back five years ago, we have been talking about same thing in the same tune. It needs to be called no longer a mitigation issue, it needs to be dealt with head-on, right now.”
Arioka joined fellow MPs from 20 countries across the Asia-Pacific region, declaring climate change to be one of the most critical threats to health. They are urging governments to do more to tackle the issue.
Arioka said the Fiji communique outlined a number of steps forward to have more action, rather than just promises.
“I have a lot of hope that as Cook Islands we can tackle this problem. I’m so positive about it.”