Legarda – Environment protection and economic growth go hand-in-hand

November 24, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda urged the delegates of the 31st Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF31) to prioritize the consideration of natural capital in legislation. She points to the fragile state of the Philippines’ ecosystem and the effects of climate change on the nation’s overall welfare, citing this as urgent and of profound significance.

“Our task is to craft legislation that not only sets norms but breathes life into the spirit of people’s rights to sustainable development and a better life for all,” Legarda conveyed, as she also emphasized the importance of reimagining the approaches in critical infrastructure initiatives that highlight the blue economy and natural resources accounting.

Legarda said infrastructure is not just about concrete and steel but also about “mobility, shelter, resilience, connectivity and empowering installations that safeguard health and well-being and create physical frameworks for healthy growth and development.”

“We must adopt an innovative approach that accounts for the economic value of our natural resources,” she continued, noting that this empowers Filipinos to make informed decisions that strike a delicate balance between economic growth and environmental protection.

Moreover, Legarda added that investing in blue carbon initiatives and embracing nature-based solutions are crucial to a vibrant and sustainable blue economy.

As the four-term senator, who championed bills on the Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System and the Blue Economy, explained, the risks associated with climate change are escalating at an unprecedented pace, which underscores the potentially irreversible and disastrous consequences scientists warn in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

She said climate action must accelerate rapidly “to close the emissions gap under the Paris Agreement, which aims to achieve a net-zero world by 2050 and limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius for the century.”

“Amidst the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, our increasing vulnerability becomes an opportunity to examine the role of natural resources in economic growth,” Legarda stressed.

“Together, let us forge a future where economic growth and environmental protection go hand in hand – a future where development aligns with, rather than compromises, our environment. Let our laws transcend generations but meet the urgent needs of the time,” she urged, concluding her message.

As a senator, Legarda has authored numerous environmental laws, including the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Philippine Clean Air Act, Renewable Energy Act, Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, National Environmental Awareness and Education Act, Climate Change Act, and Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, among other measures.

In 2017, she sponsored the Philippines’ concurrence in ratifying the Paris Agreement, an international climate change treaty adopted in 2015 by members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as former Chairperson of the Subcommittee on the Paris Agreement under the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Aside from this, she leads the Philippines into assenting to the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, which aims to protect at least 30% of the world’s land and ocean by the year 2030.

In 2018, Legarda led the Philippine delegation during the 26th APPF meeting held in Hanoi, Vietnam, where she championed the climate and disaster resilience resolution. (end)