Accessing UN climate financing difficult – President Marcos

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Accessing UN climate financing difficult � President Marcos
A resident walks on a dried up fish pond in Candaba town, Pampanga.
Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — Developing countries are having difficulty accessing climate financing, President Marcos said as he emphasized the need to act on climate change being felt in the Philippines through frequent and intense disasters.

Mami Mizutori, head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, told Marcos in a meeting last Friday at Malacañang that the international body is ready to assist the country in climate financing as it cited the efforts of the President to mitigate the effects of climate change in the country.

Although Marcos hailed the offer of Mizutori and the UN office, the Chief Executive also “raised the difficulty of developing countries in accessing the financing for climate change,” the Presidential Communications Office said in a statement.

“We are already in the middle of the effects of climate change. It’s time to get it done. But I’m glad that you’re here. As you can see immediately... this is very high on our priority... It is something that we really have to come to grips with. And I know that the UN certainly is providing some financing in terms of green and blue bonds,” Marcos was quoted in the statement as telling Mizutori.

“So, and then there are many, many other requirements that we have to fulfill. And sometimes it seems that it is very difficult to actually qualify for some of these,” he added.

Mizutori said the UN Secretary General wants reform in the international financial institutes and system. She mentioned the plight of middle-income countries like the Philippines that are constantly affected by climate-related disasters.

“This is an area where the United Nations system is working with governments like France, governments like Barbados,” said Mizutori, also special representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“So, we will work as a United Nations system on how (to better) access climate financing,” she added.

Marcos, who once called climate change “the most pressing existential challenge of our time,” said there are issues that vulnerable countries like the Philippines are wrestling with.

He said the country has just gone through a difficult time because of a “very rapid” increase in the price of rice because all Asian countries are bracing for El Niño in the first quarter of 2024.

“So, everybody is buying that to build up their reserves, which drives the price up,” the Chief Executive said.

Regions that were not experiencing typhoons and other calamities are now prone to floods and other climate-related disruptions and changes, he added.

“We are always expected to be one of the most vulnerable when it comes to the effects of climate change and we certainly are very concerned. As I’ve said, right now, we are already feeling it because of the frequency and the intensity of these disasters that fall into the country,” the President told the UN official.

During the 18th East Asia Summit in Jakarta last month, Marcos pushed for a loss and damage fund to support measures designed to mitigate the effects of climate change. He added that climate financing, complemented by viable and effective technology transfer and country specific capacity-building, is needed “to expedite a just transition to a climate-resilient economy.”

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