PH to speed up climate fight after cliffhanger Climate Talks in Bonn

Apples Jalandoni, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2017 02:38 PM | Updated as of Nov 20 2017 01:09 AM

Melita Sta. Maria-Thomeczek, Philippine Ambassador to Germany (left) and Emmanuel M. de Guzman, Philippine Climate Change Commission Secretary (second from left) attend the United Nations climate talks Nov. 18, 2017 in Bonn, Germany. Apples Jalandoni, ABS-CBN News

BONN, Germany - The Bonn Climate Conference concluded early Saturday morning after extensive closed-door discussions spilled over from Friday night, with minimal accomplishments.

Countries vulnerable to climate change, including the Philippines, fiercely negotiated over the two-week conference on how to fulfill the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

This is an especially important moment for the Philippines as it is the first time that the country’s delegation is attending as a Party to the Paris Agreement after President Rodrigo Duterte ratified and signed the historic accord in March.

The delegation is headed by the Climate Change Commission together with Senator Loren Legarda and experts from various government agencies.

But many of the much awaited decisions on adaptation efforts such as the mobilization of climate finance, delivery of capacity-building, and development and transfer of technologies were deferred to next year’s 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Poland.

According to Philippine Climate Change Commission Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman, developed nations must take the initiative to be on the front lines in promoting resilience efforts in the most vulnerable communities.

“Yung commitment ng developed countries to raise a hundred billion US dollars by 2020, kailangan tuparin nila iyan. At even under the Kyoto Protocol and in the Convention meron pa rin silang commitment na dapat nilang gawin before 2020,” de Guzman said.

(The commitment of developed countries to raise a hundred billion US dollars by 2020, they must stay true to that. Even under the Kyoto Protocol and in the Convention, they still have commitments to satisfy before 2020.)

Even as the Bonn Climate Talks drew to a close without much resolution, the Philippine delegation, remained optimistic and announced that they will speed up work and adaptation measures in the fight for climate justice. 

Senator Loren Lagarda said that the government will work doubly hard to ensure that the Philippines will get its fair share of the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund. However, Legarda maintained, the country’s national government agencies and local government units must also be compelled to integrate adaptation measures into their plans, programs and activities.

“Ang makikinabang dito ay ang mga mahihirap, magsasaka, mangingisda, mga katutubo, ang mga nakaitira sa baybaying dagat at pati na rin ang buong sambayanan. Kapag meron tayong adapatation at sustainable development, gaganda ang kabuhayan, ang rural livelihood ay yayabong. At mas healthy, mas resilient ang ating mga komunidad,” Legarda said.

(The ones who will benefit from this are the poor, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, people living in coastal areas and really, the whole nation. If we have adaptation and sustainable development, livelihoods, especially in rural areas, will improve and prosper. Our communities will also be healthier and more resilient.)

Philippine Ambassador to Germany Melita Sta. Maria-Thomeczek said that she was convinced that the Bonn Climate Talks, though not conclusive, will nonetheless pave the way for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“One of the highlights was that vulnerable nations like ours somehow had a voice and a say on how to move forward,” Sta. Maria-Thomeczek said, adding that it made her appreciate the wide-ranging expertise and thorough engagement of the Philippine delegation in the discussions and negotiations.

The Philippines already has existing laws to address climate change such as the Renewable Energy Act and Green Jobs Law. Congress is now developing policies on carbon pricing which will charge or tax carbon dioxide emitters for their emissions.