Legarda Addresses Vulnerable Nations Ahead of Paris Agreement Signing

April 20, 2016

United Nations Global Champion for Resilience, Senator Loren Legarda, will address today, April 20, members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) in a meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York.


Two days ahead of the High-Level Signing Ceremony for the Paris Agreement in New York, Legarda, who is also Co-Head of the Philippine Delegation, said that CVF member states must unite in ensuring the early entry into force of the Agreement.


“Two days from now, representatives of nations will assemble to take us closer to delivering meaningful action on climate change. Our advocacies will not stop in New York; but rather, our efforts will need to ramp up as we strive to achieve the ratification by at least 55 countries representing 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is only then that the Paris Agreement will enter into force,” she said.


The Senator explained that the Agreement is vital because national actions will be driven by the countries’ ambitions and plans for carbon reduction. “The members of CVF are put in a unique leadership position in that our commitments and actions should inspire action from others, such as in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy deployment, and forest protection.”


“We cannot afford delays in carrying out our commitments because the more we stall action, the faster we reach the dangerous 2 degrees Celsius mark,” Legarda said, stressing that CVF member states have already been experiencing the severe impacts of climate change even before warming exceeded the 1 degree Celsius mark above pre-industrial levels.


The 20 nations[1] that first joined the CVF have recorded, collectively, an average of more than 50,000 deaths per year since 2010, a number expected to increase exponentially by 2030; and have experienced escalating annual losses of at least 2.5% of our GDP potential per year, estimated at US$45 
billion since 2010. This is expected to increase to close to US$400 billion in the next 20 years.


“The number of extremely hot days and hot nights has doubled in the last 50 years and extreme weather events have increased and have become more frequent, like typhoons with wind speeds that are around 10% stronger, as my country had experienced during Supertyphoon Haiyan,” she added.


“I call on my fellow parliamentarians in the CVF and everyone who values life and our future — let us continue to rally our networks, organizations, and civil society in ensuring that our governments keep the promises they delivered in Paris,” said Legarda.


In her capacity as the UN Global Champion for Resilience and Chairperson of the Philippine Senate’s Committee on Climate Change, Legarda wrote parliamentarians of CVF member countries, encouraging them to ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible for its early entry into force.


“The early legislative action by the entirety of the CVF membership would send a clear signal to the international community, encouraging highly industrialized economies, major emitting nations and all countries to follow suit,” said Legarda.


The Philippines is the current Chair of the CVF, an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to climate change. The Forum serves as a cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with climate change. It currently has 43 member states.


CVF members Fiji, Palau, Marshall Islands and Maldives were the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement.***



[1] The first 20 CVF Member States: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam