High Level Segment of COP23/CMP13/CMA1.2 of the UNFCCC

November 16, 2017

High Level Segment of COP23/CMP13/CMA1.2 of the UNFCCC
16 November 2017, Bonn, Germany
delivered by
Head of Delegation


Mr. President,


The Philippines congratulates you on your election as President of the 23rd Session of the Conference of Parties. We are one with you in ensuring that the COP23 canoe[1] will move the climate action agenda forward.


We come to COP23 with a strong call for climate justice: that those who are most vulnerable, who suffer the most from the adverse effects of climate change and who have contributed the least to climate change are empowered and enabled, in terms of capacity and finance, to fight back.


This necessitates not just enhanced ambition, but the steely resolve to act now. The window of opportunity on achieving the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement is fast closing and any delay will result in the irreversible.


We in the Philippines are doing our part. Despite all odds, we ratified and became party to the Paris Agreement. We have mainstreamed climate and geo-tagging into our budget processes.  We have set up a People’s Survival Fund, which provides over a billion pesos each year for local government and community initiatives to fight climate change. We have enacted a Renewable Energy law and a Green Jobs Act.


And we will do more. We are developing policies on carbon pricing and green banking. We intend to impose a tax on coal. And we are greening our hospitals.


Indeed, we are pursuing not just a transition to a green economy, but a transformation of the way we do government and business. We do so, with full awareness that the buy-in of the private sector and partnerships with them is crucial. This is what the sustainable development goals mandate.


We are tasked here at COP23 to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement. To this end, we welcome the Talanoa Dialogue and urge completion of work on the residuals of the basic minimums of the Paris Agreement. Loss and damage need to be addressed. And commitments on climate finance must be fulfilled and scaled up.


We must also not forget the fulfillment of the pre-2020 targets and its inclusion in the agenda of the COP. The Philippines ratified the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol in 2016 and we call on others who have not done so to do so.


In implementing the Paris Agreement, adaptation is key. It is a pathway to resilience and survival. As a National Adaptation Champion, I commit that I will personally mandate national agencies and local government units to integrate adaptation measures into their plans and programs. We will also pursue adaptation endeavors, including on the role of marine resources. I specify local government units because they are at the frontlines of the battle on climate change and because at the core of it, adaptation is local.


In our capacity as current chair of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN), the Philippines wishes to highlight the ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change to COP23 which among others, calls on the operationalization of the Adaptation Fund and urges the GCF to facilitate and promote direct access of the fund by ASEAN and other developing country parties.


In closing, Mr. President,


We have all heard the saying that what is “difficult is done at once” but that “the impossible takes a little longer.” But we are running out of time. We have to do both the difficult and the impossible at once. Only then can we truly say that we have fulfilled our obligations to future generations, because only then can we leave a world where life can continue to exist.


Thank you.

[1] The “drua” or canoe is the symbol of Fiji’s presidency. Per Fiji, it is a “reminder to the entire world that we are all in the same canoe when it comes to climate change.”