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Legarda: Local to Global Action Needed for Resilience, Sustainability

May 6, 2018

As Head of the 🇵🇭 Delegation to the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, I was invited as panelist to the 10th Anniversary of the Federal Ministry for the Env’t Nature Conservation & Nuclear Safety’s (BMU) Int’l Climate Initiative (IKI). In my speech, I thanked the #IKI for being a valuable partner in #climate & #biodiversity initiatives, particularly to the support it extended in the formulation of the PH Strategy on Climate Change Adaptation 2011-2018, among many others. I also shared that the 🇵🇭 was hailed by then UNISDR’s Margareta Wahlstrom as having the best climate laws in the 🌎, namely: the Clean Air Act; the Clean Water Act; #ESWM Law; #Renewable Energy Law; Env’tal Educ’n Awareness Act; the People’s Survival Fund and creation of the Climate Change Commission, to name a few. However, I pointed out that while policies, experts and funding are important, these are not enough to save a vulnerable nation like the 🇵🇭. The greatest challenge, really, is to convince both the nat’l gov’t and LGUs to embrace #climate as an emergency issue. We must do both #mitigation and #adaptation, and take the protection of our #ProtectedAreas seriously. Much remains to be done in terms of resilience, #DRR, #adaptation and #mitigation, but if we get all of our 42k #barangays of our LGUs to be actively involved in the Local Climate Change Adaptation Plans we can go a long way in achieving #climatejustice for the country and the planet. #SB48Bonn #1.5degrees #vulnerable #ParisAgreement #climatechange #Philippines #cooperation #Bonn🇧🇪

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Senator Loren Legarda underscored the need to carry out disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM), and environmental conservation at all levels—from global down to national to local level and even to the smallest community—to ensure a more holistic approach towards resilience and sustainability.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Finance, Foreign Relations and Climate Change, made the statement during the closing panel, “IKI in the Years to Come,” which was part of the 10th anniversary conference of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety’s (BMU) International Climate Initiative (IKI) in Bonn, Germany.

“The Philippines has among the best laws in the world in terms of environmental protection and climate and disaster resilience. We also very much appreciate the IKI’s support since ten years ago through various programs such as the first IKI-funded project in the Philippines, ‘Adaptation to Climate Change and Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCBio) Project’. But despite all our laws and these programs, there is still much to be done,” said Legarda.

“The greatest challenge is not even funding these laws and programs, but to convince both the national and local governments on the urgency of taking action to address disaster risks and climate change impacts. Disaster losses have continued to mount because the resilience of communities is still a great challenge to local government units (LGUs) because many have not yet incorporated DRR and CCAM initiatives in their poverty alleviation programs,” she stressed.

The Senator also highlighted the importance of the country’s protected areas, whose protection must be embraced by local governments and communities.

She stressed that protected areas should be guarded from use and prohibited from resource exploitation in view of their immense value to the ecosystem and the detrimental impact on people and environment when degraded.

“The protection, monitoring and assessment on the impact of the exploitation of protected areas in the country are great challenges. We must keep in mind that their preservation is critical to sustainable development, which is our fundamental goal for our society—beyond any revenue, profit, and economic gain,” said Legarda.

The Senator also encouraged the IKI to focus more on local climate action in their work with developing countries.

“We would appreciate greater IKI support for our local communities as we also work on having all LGUs craft their local climate change action plans (LCCAP). And while we strengthen local resilience, we continue to remind and urge industrialized nations to walk their talk, operationalizing it by veering away from fossil fuels such as coal and proving to other nations that resilience is the way forward,” Legarda said.

Legarda was joined in the panel by Sonia Medina, Executive Director for Climate Change of the London-based Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF); Professor Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute (DIE); and Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director General, Global Issues- Sector Policies and Programmes of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Hoven noted the need to join forces across sectors and ministries, instead of working in isolation, to address the climate crisis, which is a cross-cutting issue.

“The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is not only about implementing the Paris Agreement but also about accomplishing the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Countries need the right regulatory framework, the right set of policies, the right coordination among industries. When you have these in place, it is easier to seek financial support and sources including from the private sector,” said Hoven.

Meanwhile, Medina explained the correlation between the CIFF’s work and climate change mitigation, stressing that climate change threatens to diminish almost all achievements they have made in the last decades, such as better nutrition, education and health for children.

“About 5 million deaths are caused by fossil fuel and climate related risks. That’s more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. About 80% of those happened in low income countries. More than 80% of the burden of climate change related diseases is borne by children under 5 years old. So if we care about today’s children and you care about tomorrow’s children, we absolutely must address the impacts of climate change,” Medina said.

For his part, Messner stressed the need to combine the narratives of decarbonization and social transformation, and to bring the finance community on board to effectively combat climate change.

“With digital technology, you can solve many of the ecological economics, better than ever before, like decarbonization, dematerialization, protecting and monitoring ecosystem, and energy efficiency gains. Digitalization is a huge enabler of many things but we need to invest much harder and develop research much more focused on how to link the digital options and opportunities with the SDGs, the climate agenda and the development opportunities for the bottom 40 percent of the global population,” said Messner.

In her closing statement, Legarda said that, “If we have local climate action in communities in vulnerable nations, and if industrialized nations take the lead and prove that you can actually be powered by renewable energy, have high growth statistics and build sustainable development models by going low carbon, at the same time not losing jobs and equating it even with double growth statistics, then that will have a domino effect with other jurisdictions.”

Legarda is currently in Bonn, Germany as Head of the Philippine Delegation to the 48th Session of the Subsidiary Bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).