Philippines losing P300 B to disasters yearly
Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) - October 4, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Losing more than P300 billion from natural disasters and calamities every year, the Philippines is at the forefront of a new global cooperation seeking to reduce financial vulnerabilities to natural catastrophes.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima leads 19 other nations in Lima, Peru this week in the establishment and inaugural meeting of the “Vulnerable 20” (V20) finance ministers group, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

“Climate change is real,” Purisima was quoted as saying.

“There’s simply no debate about it. Its devastating effects reach deeply, jeopardizing sustainable economic growth, threatening food security and worsening the quality of life in many climate-vulnerable countries. What is even more unfortunate is that least developed, low-income, and middle-income countries that contribute the least to climate change are the ones that suffer the most from its adverse effects.”

Climate vulnerable nations suffer economic losses amounting to 2.5 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) every year, according to estimates from the DOF.

GDP is the sum of all products and services created in an economy.

With P12 trillion in nominal GDP by end 2014, 2.5 percent translates to more than P300 billion every year in the Philippines.

For context, P300 billion accounts for a tenth of next year’s proposed P3.002-trillion national budget.

The Philippines is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

On average, 20 typhoons visit the country every year.

“The losses are expected to escalate if no significant action against climate change is implemented,” the DOF said.

The V20 group is looking at crafting an “action plan” to outline efforts to be taken to mitigate the impact of climate change, particularly through the mobilization of funds.

“Technical support” for susceptible nations will also be studied.

V20 also hopes to draft its inputs to the bigger gathering of nations against climate change at the Conference of Parties in Paris, France in December.

Along with the Philippines, the V20 is comprised of mainly small island countries in Asia-Pacific like Madagascar, Maldives, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu and Tuvalu.

Other members are Saint Lucia, Bhutan, Kiribati, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Rwanda and Vietnam.

Attending the inaugural meeting are representatives from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

France, Germany, Japan and the US will represent the advanced economies.

The V20 was established pursuant to the Costa Rica Action Plan 2013-2015, which laid out its priorities when it first met informally in Warsaw, Poland two years ago. 

The plan also vowed to tackle the impact of climate change on health, human rights, labor, migration and science.                 

ACIRC CLIMATE CONFERENCE OF PARTIES COSTA RICA COSTA RICA ACTION PLAN DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE FINANCE SECRETARY CESAR PURISIMA NBSP RWANDA AND VIETNAM SAINT LUCIA VANUATU AND TUVALU
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