Climate and Environment

‘Voice of vulnerable nations’: Philippines secures seat in climate damage fund board

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
�Voice of vulnerable nations�: Philippines secures seat in climate damage fund board
The Philippine delegation, led by Environment chief Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, opens the the first-ever Philippine Pavilion during the 2023 United Nations 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) at the Dubai Expo City in United Arab Emirates on December 1, 2023.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has secured a seat on the inaugural board of the fund aimed at helping vulnerable nations cope with the costly and damaging impacts of the climate crisis, the country’s environment chief said Thursday.

The Philippines will represent the Asia Pacific Group in the Loss and Damage Fund Board as a full member in 2024 and 2026. It will serve as an alternate member of the board in 2025, sharing the term with Pakistan for that year. 

Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said a seat in the fund will allow the Philippines to continue being the “voice” of climate-vulnerable countries. The 26-member board will govern and supervise the fund. 

The Philippines is also seeking to host the fund, which will provide funding for economic and non-economic loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.

“The main gain for us in terms of being the host of the board and being the on the board itself is to continue to represent the vulnerable countries in the world that are developing and need special consideration in order for us to drive what should be the appropriate financing available for each of us,” Yulo-Loyzaga said in a Palace briefing. 

She added that a seat on the loss and damage fund board will give the Philippines an opportunity to shape decisions on the access to the mechanism and the pace at which funding is granted. 

The recently-concluded COP28 climate talks opened in late November with the operationalization of the loss and damage fund long-sought by climate-vulnerable nations such as the Philippines. The World Bank will initially serve as the interim trustee and host of the fund.

In a video message, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he was “very gratified” after being informed that the Philippines has secured a membership on the board. 

“The next step we are hoping to achieve is to host the loss and damage fund here in the Philippines… because after all, we are very much in the mix when it comes to climate change effects,” Marcos said. 

Earlier, climate campaigners told Philstar.com that the Philippine government needs to demonstrate its capacity to oversee the mechanism, and strengthen climate governance and inclusivity before hosting the loss and damage fund.

The Philippines has been one of the strongest voices calling for an international mechanism on loss and damage and the establishment of such a fund. 

After years of dragging their feet on the issue, wealthy nations backed the fund in a landmark agreement at the COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt last year.

The fund reached around $792 million in pledges during COP28. However, the amount still falls short of the $100 billion per year that developing nations—historically the least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions—have said is necessary to cover losses from climate disasters. — with report from Agence France-Presse

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