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'Vulnerable nations like Philippines need quick access to climate financing'

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
'Vulnerable nations like Philippines need quick access to climate financing'
Members of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines hold a protest in Quezon City on March 25, 2022.
YACAP, Handout

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is calling for accessible climate financing for developing countries that are vulnerable to global warming, saying more should be done to those who are least responsible for but are most exposed to the problem.

Climate Change Commission Secretary Robert Borje said the challenge for and responsibility of Asia and Pacific nations is to craft and implement water development strategies and trajectories in the era of climate change "up to the last mile" and "up to the last person.”

“To this end, we need climate financing. Make it more accessible and available. Unlock it for the developing world,” Borje said during the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Japan last Saturday.

“This is not a plea for handouts, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. This is an urgent call for responsible partnership. We want to contribute more but we in the developing world need to help ourselves first,” he added.

Borje cited the Philippines' experiences with typhoons, including the impact of tropical depression "Agaton," which displaced tens of thousands of families in the Visayas and Mindanao and damaged about $1.6-billion worth of properties.

“But, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen of this meeting, the narrative can still be transformed: from frustration and desperation to one of action and inspiration,” Borje said.

“This is where climate justice becomes relevant in what we do - a guiding light towards a more informed collaboration among our nations, so that our peoples, across generations, will be equipped to restore and ensure the quality of and access to water for all – as a matter of life – a dignified life,” he added.

RELATED: As cycling booms, farmer tours Mindoro to teach communities about climate crisis

During his introduction to President Rodrigo Duterte during the leaders' meeting, Borje said climate justice is central to the Philippines' stance on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“To the least responsible, to those with the least resources, to those most exposed, we need to do more,” the climate change commission chief said.

Last week, Duterte reiterated the need for rich and industrialized countries to compensate developing ones for the impact of their carbon emissions. He noted that developed countries are the biggest contributors of carbon emissions while poorer countries like the Philippines bear the brunt of the impact of climate change.

"Why should we suffer? The rich who are not hit by the destruction caused by the pollution, they should pay us for the damage or they should do something to equalize. We sustain huge damage even if our contribution to climate change is small," the president said during his weekly address aired last Monday. 

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