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Welcome Remarks: Multi-stakeholder Consultative Forum on Green

August 1, 2017

Welcome Remarks of Senator Loren Legarda
Multi-stakeholder Consultative Forum on Green Finance
1 August 2017 | Senate of the Philippines

Our vulnerability to climate change impacts has always been highlighted in various reports and statistics. The Philippines is always included in the yearly rankings of countries most at risk to climate change.

We have laws, policies and programs that aim to address climate change impacts, but we know these are not enough. In fact, our vulnerability has been our negotiating strength in climate talks, as when we, together with other members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), led the successful push to enshrine the tougher warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the Paris Agreement.

The Philippines’ accession to the Agreement sent a strong signal of our continuing commitment to work with the rest of the world in ensuring the survival of this generation and the generations to come, and the ability of the Earth to sustain life.

In our own efforts, as well as through international support, we are shifting to clean energy. We are doing this gradually because as a developing nation, we aim to strike a delicate balance between meeting our energy demands and sustainability.

That is why we seek climate justice for our people and for other victims of extreme weather events who are at the receiving end of the global climate crisis. Justice, to a certain extent, will be served, once we all take significant climate action.

This is why the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other climate financing mechanisms are important for us. We need the financial and technical support of countries, especially of developed nations who have the historical responsibility of causing the heating of the planet. Commitments under the Paris Agreement must be kept and action must be taken now.

One of our climate laws, the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) Act, provides funding support for climate change adaptation programs at the local level. These local programs could eventually be upscaled for GCF funding, and make way for transformed communities.

We are exploring the feasibility of blending and sequencing PSF resources with GCF to translate the targets of the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) into climate business opportunities, especially in securing access to safe food, clean water, renewable energy, and efficient transport.

Meanwhile, currently pending in the Senate is a bill I filed to establish environmental units in every banking institution to assess and ensure that projects subject of financing applications as well as collateral offered as security shall conform to environmental laws.

Through this forum, we will discuss more about green banking and finance. We will have an overview of on-going climate finance initiatives in the country and the available international green finance programs. We will also identify priority convergence actions for advancing green finance in the country, including awareness raising, capacity building, and policy reform.

While we need to ensure that public finance pledges for the GCF, initially targeted at 100 billion US dollars annually, are delivered with the right balance, I wish to remind everyone that this figure pales starkly in comparison to private finance, that is several magnitudes greater, which we need to tap with urgency. Instead of billions we need to tap trillions, because this is the big prize. And we can only achieve this if the plans we develop are truly responsive to the scale of the impacts of the climate crisis in our communities.

Climate action makes good development sense. Pursuing green finance is crucial in our goal of pursuing climate-resilient, sustainable and inclusive growth that likewise contribute to the fight to keep warming within the 1.5 degree threshold.

Procrastination has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. It is time to bring the era of inaction to a close. Let our efforts reveal that we are firm in our resolve to deliver on our promise to save this planet for future generations.

Thank you.