Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the public health and societal implications of climate change in South East Asia, and create a framework for planning national and regional responses. Design/methodology/approach: The paper elaborates on the adverse consequences of climate change in South East Asia, the current efforts taken by the regional countries, the current barriers to deal with the problems and presents a framework for planning responses. Findings: The consequences of climate change from a public health perspective, as well as from an economic, political and resource security standpoint, for South East Asia can be disastrous. Consequently, there is an urgent need to plan national and regional level measures for climate change mitigation and develop comprehensive plans in response to the current and projected climate-related health risks. Practical implications: The paper attempts to provide a detailed framework for addressing the health-related risks of climate change, in such a manner that it can be followed by all countries of the region. Originality/value: South East Asia could face disastrous public health consequences due to climate change. A detailed framework for mitigating climate change effects in the context of public health has been suggested, focusing on strengthening the evidence base to aid climate change policy, advancing knowledge and training to mitigate climate change, implementing adaptation measures, greenhouse gas reduction and developing collaborative work. Following the framework could yield substantial benefits for the South East Asian countries. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.