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The Climate Emergency is very real, as evidenced by the spate of super typhoons that hit the Philippines and Vietnam recently. It is also a very real Health Emergency. This was clearly established by Dr. Renzo Guinto, Chief Planetary Doctor of PH Lab, at Health Care Without Harm's virtual launch of RISE Southeast Asia Alliance for Health and Climate on 20 November 2020.

RISE Southeast Asia is a new initiative of Health Care Without Harm in the region, which is based in the Philippines and is part of the global network of HCWH. RISE Southeast Asia aims to build a competent, inclusive alliance of healthcare leaders to advance climate action, health equity, resilience and a healthy recovery in Southeast Asia in the context of increasing climate change risk and the Covid-19 pandemic in the region.

In his Opening Address, Dr. Suherman of HCWH's Asian Advisory Council emphasized how Southeast Asia is particularly vulnerable to climate change and that health care must be at the heart of climate action and a healthy recovery for SEA. "Healthcare is the only sector of the global economy that has healing as its mission and health workers are the single most trusted profession in the world." Stressing that planetary health is a prerequisite for healthy people, Dr. Guinto said, "21st century health systems in the era of planetary health should be universal, climate-smart, pandemic-resilient and high value."

Attended by up to 145 people from different countries, the launch featured representatives from RISE chapters formed in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan along with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital from Singapore speaking about how RISE Southeast Asia can help meet the climate-health gaps and challenges in their countries and in the region. Key strategies identified included building awareness and capacity; strengthening and upscaling resilient practices; decarbonizing health care; and expanding research, campaigns, and policy advocacy. Each representative pledged to commit to healthcare climate action and a healthy recovery for the region. RISE Southeast Asia intends to reach out to more countries in Southeast Asia as well as to South Korea.

The Alliance was officially declared as launched by the Executive Director of HCWH Southeast Asia, Mr. Ramon san Pascual.###

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