Noy: Climate change calls for global ‘bayanihan’

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

PARIS – President Aquino has called for global bayanihan to address the impact of climate change, saying no effort by a single country is enough to solve the problem.

Aquino said the Philippines has been tapping bayanihan to promote national transformation, institute good governance and create an inclusive and compassionate society.

“This spirit of bayanihan, dear colleagues, is exactly the same spirit that informs the Climate Vulnerable Forum. It is also at the core of what we launch today: the Manila-Paris Declaration, which embodies our shared aspirations for a world that is more just and more sustainable,” the President said in his speech at the 21st climate conference in this French capital.

Aquino said the members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum or V20 are survivors and could become a “collective force towards a fairer, more climate-proactive world.”

The Philippines chairs the V20 – the countries deemed most vulnerable to climate change: Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Maldives, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Timor-Leste, Barbados, Kenya, Tuvalu, Bhutan, Kiribati, Rwanda, Vanuatu, Costa Rica, Madagascar, Saint Lucia and Vietnam.

The group has formally asked the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to lower its temperature goal to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Review sends a clear message that the current long-term temperature goal of holding global warming below 2 degrees Celsius is inadequate and that it is essential that this target is strengthened towards a below 1.5 degrees Celsius goal,” the group said in the Manila-Paris joint declaration adopted during the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCC (COP21) here.

“We urge the UNFCCC Conference of Parties to heed the 2013-2015 Review into the adequacy of the current long-term temperature goal of holding global warming below a 2 degrees Celsius increase above preindustrial levels,” it added.

Full de-carbonization

The group is also advocating a climate agreement that provides for the full de-carbonization of the world economy and 100 percent renewable energy production by 2050.

“The agreement being negotiated for adoption in Paris at COP21 must require no backsliding and a progression of commitments to avoid developments regressive towards achieving the long-term goal,” the V20 said.

The V20 lamented that the goals in the emission reduction plans or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that countries submitted are not enough to limit warming below the current target of two degrees.

Further substantial action would be needed to close the gap between the INDCs total level of ambition and the emission pathways consistent with the 1.5 degrees goal, the group said.

The V20 has set a target of $20 billion in new investments in climate action by 2020 with focus on regional, domestic and private sector mobilization.

It also cited the importance of including loss and damage in the Paris climate deal, saying it would establish options for compensating affected populations.

The group said international efforts for addressing loss and damage should include a mechanism that would comply with the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, a displacement coordination facility that would assist people affected by extreme weather events and a financing process.

The V20 also adopted a three-year road map of activities aimed at enhancing cooperation among and protection for the climate vulnerable countries.

Global champion

As this developed, Sen. Loren Legarda has been appointed as the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)’s Global Champion for Resilience.

Margareta Wahlstrom, special representative of the UN secretary general for disaster risk reduction, announced Legarda’s appointment on Nov. 30.

Legarda was a UNISDR regional champion for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for Asia-Pacific since 2008.

“I wish to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom, who has been most supportive in our initiatives to strengthen resilience of the various institutions in my country,” Legarda said in a video message played at the forum.

“You have ably led the UNISDR in empowering nations, business, individuals and the whole of society to build safer communities. I thank you for the trust given to me as Global Champion for Resilience,” she added.

She said the Paris climate agreement must aim for nothing less than the transformation of the global economy.

“It must set in motion steps that develop innovative finance approaches able to respond to impacts that are beyond the reach of adaptation,” she added.

Legarda was unable to travel to Paris because of her duties as chairman of the Senate committee on finance, which is working on the 2016 budget.

Daughter’s future

In attending the climate talks, National Youth Commission commissioner Dingdong Dantes said he represented his newborn daughter.

“I come from an archipelago that knows an average of 22 typhoons a year. On paper, I am a commissioner representing the youth of the Philippines, but in my heart I feel like I’m really just representing my daughter, Maria Letizia,” he told the forum on Monday.

“If you here are first time parents as well, you know that I really shouldn’t have left her or her mother’s side at this time even for a single minute. Yet, here I am. I am here because when I represent Maria Letizia, I represent the world,” he added.

“You are all also here for yours – your sons and daughters – and for those still without, the children you are about to bear, if fate bestows you,” Dantes said.

A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund warned that children would bear the brunt of climate change because about 530 million of them reside in flood-prone areas and 160 million others are in drought severity zones.

Dantes said the youth have an important role to pay in spreading awareness about climate change.

He cited the Philippines’ launching of #NOWPH last year, which aims to promote vigilance for the care of the planet through social media. NOW stands for Not on our Watch.

“To choose to be involved and to get people involved is certainly the greatest contribution we can make in addressing the common problems we face in our common world. With a reach of 221 million social media impressions, and 3.6 million total pledges, please listen to all these voices saying NOW,” Dantes said. – With Christina Mendez












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