Marcos off to Dubai for climate change meet

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos off to Dubai for climate change meet
President Marcos leads the turnover of more than P541 million in climate adaptation funds to local government units during a ceremony at Malacañang yesterday. He is joined by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. and Climate Change Commission vice chair and executive director Robert Borje.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos yesterday vowed to ask governments to make good their commitments on responding to climate change during the 28th climate conference in Dubai, saying the Philippines should take the lead in the global effort to address the problem.

Marcos is scheduled to leave for the United Arab Emirates today to attend the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28), where he is expected to discuss the Philippines’ priorities in the climate agenda as well as energy and food security.

The COP is the highest decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which meets every year to talk about measures to address climate change. More than 140 heads of states, governments and royalties have confirmed their attendance to the conference, which will focus on a number of contentious issues, such as funding to compensate climate vulnerable countries including the Philippines.

“We are once again poised to lead. We will use this platform to rally the global community and call upon nations to honor their commitments, particularly in climate financing,” Marcos said during the ceremonial turnover of funding for local governments’ climate adaptation projects in Malacan?ang.

“We have unfortunately been determined to be one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change in the world. And so, we must do our part here in the Philippines. But we must also take the lead when it comes to the global move and the global aspiration that those most vulnerable communities around the world will somehow be assisted by the developing countries when it comes to these measures to mitigate and to adapt to climate change,” he added.

The Philippines is visited by about 20 cyclones every year although it is not a major emitter, contributing less than 0.5 of one percent of total global emissions. The country will be sending 237 delegates from 16 agencies and civil societies to the conference.

Among the priorities of this year’s climate meet is the setting up of the framework of the loss and damage fund as agreed in the previous meeting in Egypt, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Teresa Almojuela said.

“Also, high on the agenda is fast-tracking the energy transition, delivering and enhancing climate finance, and of course, resilient food systems. I believe that the President’s engagements will reflect the priority that the Philippines attaches to all these thematic agenda of the conference,” she said at a Palace press briefing.

The loss and damage fund is “extremely important,” Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said, citing the massive destruction caused by strong typhoons like Yolanda and Odette.

“We have always ascribed to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capacity. So that is the underlying principle. So for us, developed countries should contribute to the loss and damage fund, and those that are also high emitting. So that will be one of the principles,” Loyzaga said.

According to her, the Philippines needs “trillions” for its climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

“When we started to do the calculations for the emissions reduction budget based on our nationally determined contributions and we started to do the national adaptation plan, unfortunately, for us, this figure is in the trillions. We are not alone. Many of the small countries as well are also needing a great deal of assistance both for adaptation and mitigation,” the environment chief said.

Loyzaga acknowledged that some countries are “not in a great financial position” so the sources of the loss and damage fund may be broadened to include the private sector and international financial organizations.

Almojuela said Marcos would be the 11th speaker during the COP 28 plenary session. The President will also attend the opening of the Philippine Pavilion, where 32 side events will be held, and meet with members of the Filipino community. He is expected to hold bilateral meetings with fellow leaders.

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