June 17, 2024, 4:29 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2023-11-16 07:39:43 BdST

Saima Wazed recommends a dedicated climate and mental health resilience day at the COP28

Saima Wazed, Advisor to the Director General of the WHO for Mental Health and Autism and Thematic Ambassador for Vulnerability of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) has recommended that the Commonwealth organize a dedicated climate and mental health resilient day at the first-ever Health Day to be held at the COP28.

Ms Wazed, also the Regional Director-elect of WHO South-East Asian Regional Office (SEARO) and Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation, was presenting the key-note speech at a high-profile roundtable on “Climate Vulnerability and Mental Health: Voices of Women”,  hosted on Tuesday (14 Nov) by Bangladesh High Commission, London and the Commonwealth in partnership with the Shuchona Foundation on the eve of the Commonwealth Women Leaders' Summit taking place 15-16 November 2023 at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.

She highlighted the significance of climate and mental health resilience and suggested that Commonwealth nations collaborate more closely to address climate-related challenges and their adverse effects on mental health since countries do not have sufficient resources to handle these challenges on their own, said a press release. 

She emphasised the importance of early detection and appropriate management of mental health conditions through a collective approach and global awareness.

During her keynote speech, she also shed light on the state of mental health and universal health coverage in Bangladesh and called for global cooperation with Bangladesh in addressing these growing challenges. 

Ms Wazed is participating in a two-day Commonwealth Women Leaders' Summit. She will chair the launching ceremony of the Commonwealth NCD Guiding Framework on 16 November 2023.

UK Minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Rebecca Pow MP, Shadow Minister for Equalities Office Yasmin Qureshi, Conservative MP for Kensington and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing and Homelessness Felicity Buchan and Chair of UK All Party Parliamentary Group for UN Women Baroness Verma spoke on the occasion as special guests. Commonwealth Secretary-General RT Hon Patricia Scotland KC, co-host of the event, made introductory remarks and High Commissioner of Bangladesh to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem chaired the event as the host in her capacity as the President of Women in Diplomacy Network, London. 

UK Minister Affairs Rebecca Pow MP spoke highly of Bangladesh's efforts to address climate change and mental health challenges. She commended the country's achievements in women's empowerment, girls' education, and primary healthcare under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Commonwealth Secretary-General RT Hon Patricia Scotland KC praised Bangladesh's leadership on championing mental health at the Kigali CHOGM 2022 and declaration of the Dhaka-Kigali Mental Health Compact. The Secretary-General also recalled the Commonwealth CVF climate prosperity partnership launched at COP26. 

In her opening speech, High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem praised the global leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at COP26 as the CVF President in voicing the climate justice, loss and damage and reparations for displaced people due to climate change. 

The High Commissioner also recalled the contribution of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who honoured 300000 women who were raped during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation as War Heroes.

The high-profile roundtable was also participated by a large number of ambassadors, women diplomats, academics, environmental and mental health experts and UK government high officials including Ms Bárbara Montalvo Álvarez, Ambassador of Cuba, Ms Simona Leskovar, Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia, Agnes Oswaha, Ambassador of the Republic of South Sudan, Racher Croney, High Commissioner of Grenada, Lady Tunnicliffe, Chair, Commonwealth Association for Science Technology, Professor Mala Rao, Director, Ethnicity and Health Unit and Senior Clinical Fellow, Imperial College, London, Dr Valentina Iemmi, Senior Lecturer in Global Public Health, University of Essex and Ms. Rawan Al Faqir, President, Young Diplomats, London. 

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