Commissioner: Neric Acosta
“We can only protect that which we first value; we can only value that which we first understand.”
Neric Acosta co-led the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Conference of Parties 21/2015 Climate Change Agreement in Paris. He continues to partner with national agencies, local governments, schools and communities in the Philippines on various environmental and climate-resiliency programs and projects.
Why did you decide to join the Global Commission on Pollution + Health?
As Member of the Cabinet Cluster on the Environment and Climate Change under the Presidency of Benigno Aquino III, my office closely collaborated with Blacksmith Institute (now Pure Earth) with Mr. Richard Fuller on issues of legacy pollution in the Philippines. The subsequent creation of the Global Commission on Pollution and Health was a necessarily seminal undertaking to make pollution and health issues central to policy work around the world – and imperative for leaders and communities to effectively address everyday. I am honored and inspired to have been part of this sweeping, courageous endeavor.
What impact will the work of the Commission have?
The Commission is groundbreaking and trailblazing, as it were, as it drives governments and a vast array of actors around the world to make pollution and health the pressing priorities that they truly are. Not only as a matter of survival and environmental protection, but as something integral to shifting our understanding of human resiliency and sustainable development in this day and age of climate challenges.
How can we overcome obstacles to progress in the fight against pollution?
We primarily need meaningful policy shifts, government budgetary and other funding re-alignments, sustained information-communication campaigns across sectors and among governments around the world to overcome obstacles in the fight against pollution.
What changes do you hope to see in your lifetime?
I hope to see – or I foresee – stronger, sustained and ever committed leadership and innovative championing (from all sectors) of these issues and challenges on the global pollution and health fronts — and internally tied to the re-orientation of governments’ understanding and vigorous action of the primacy of caring for our fragile land, air and water ecosystems.
The Commission on Pollution and Health is an initiative of The Lancet, the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP), and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, with coordination from the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank. Commissioners include many of the world’s leading researchers and practitioners in the fields of pollution management, environmental health and sustainable development.