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Legarda and UNFCCC’s Espinosa Discuss Partnership to Raise Climate Ambition

May 10, 2018

Senator Loren Legarda and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held a meeting on Wednesday, May 9, to discuss cooperation on raising climate ambition, particularly in ensuring that Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) would meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Legarda, UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Champion, met with Espinosa at the sidelines of the 48th Session of the Subsidiary Bodies of the UNFCCC in Bonn, Germany where the Senator is Head of the Philippine Delegation.

The Senator said that in terms of legislation, the Philippines is leading the way, but admitted that there are still challenges especially in terms of implementation in the national level and translating policies to local climate action.

Legarda shared her experience in introducing measures that were initially met with indifference and criticisms, but were eventually approved, such as the Climate Change Act and the coal tax provision in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

She also said that, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, she ensures that the annual national budget of the Philippine Government is a climate-sensitive budget to proactively address the impacts of climate change and she has introduced provisions for government agencies to integrate disaster and climate resilience in their programs; while the Executive, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), has been tagging climate expenditures.

“It was a very productive meeting as we discussed how we can work together to encourage parliaments and governments to scale up climate ambition. Ms. Espinosa asked me to share with fellow parliamentarians around the world how I was able to shepherd climate initiatives in the Philippines. As a long-time climate warrior and a NAP Champion, I will work with the UNFCCC on this,” she said.

Espinosa also asked Legarda to discuss with Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President, Mexican Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barron, climate-related issues that can be presented at the IPU meeting in November.

“It would be a good opportunity to engage IPU members in introducing climate legislation in their respective parliaments. Climate adaptation, greening the national budget, de-carbonization, and carbon pricing are some of the issues that we can bring to the table for parliamentarians to discuss. The IPU can make a bold statement on raising climate ambition and perhaps commit to review their respective governments’ NDCs,” said Legarda.

In September, Legarda will join Espinosa in Bangkok to help in negotiations, especially in the Asia-Pacific Region, regarding making NDCs compatible with the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit goal.

Meanwhile, for the Asia Pacific Adaptation Forum (APAN) that will be hosted by the Philippines in October, Legarda will invite fellow UNFCCC NAP Champions for a high-level meeting where they will share the work that they do and to strengthen and expand the NAP Champions network.