Legarda leads the “Campaign for Nature” High Ambition Coalition

October 13, 2022

Legarda leads the “Campaign for Nature” High Ambition Coalition

At no other time in the history of this country have we seen the confluence of high-level reactions to the dual threats of climate change and biodiversity collapse. United States Senator Russell Feingold sought the guidance and leadership of Senator Loren Legarda in bringing the Philippines into the High Ambition Coalition (HAC).  With the conviction brought about by twin disasters placing us among the most vulnerable, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) sent Notes Verbale to the Permanent Missions of France, Costa Rica, and the UK to the United Nations in New York.  Dated October 5, 2022, these Notes signified that the Philippines will join the High Ambition Coalition and the Global Ocean Alliance.

As a strong advocate of climate change adaptation and mitigation, Legarda secured the commitment of the DFA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in joining the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. The HAC has set an aspiration of protecting at least 30% of the world’s land and ocean, through increased public and private financing, to ensure long-term management and local governance, and clear implementation mechanisms to nature so we can recover ecosystems by the year 2030.

This is consistent with the United Nation’s declaration of this decade as one for Ecological Restoration.  Nor surprisingly, 2030 is also the target for reaching our Sustainable Development Goals.

Legarda started to raise the alarm over climate change as early as several decades ago.  The world has since slowly woken up to the realities of what we have done to nature and its systems. Unfortunately, it was massive typhoons, crop damage, heat waves and disease outbreaks that are aggravated by the changing climate that has forced us to finally admit humanity’s role in the changing planet.

The Philippines is one of the places where we can see the most vulnerabilities as well as demonstrate the greatest progress in shifting our development direction to consider what is happening to the planet.

Through nature-based solutions, we can do what we have set out to do and succeed in protecting remaining forests and coastal areas.  We will then not only have the multiple benefits these ecosystems produce such as food, water, clean air, medicines, and shields against disaster.  We will also be reducing our contribution to the greenhouse gases being emitted that is still pushing us towards disaster.  While our contribution in terms of emissions is minimal, what we do to the ecosystems that will allow them to benefit us will also have the side benefit of reducing our contribution further.

Legarda adds, “We should not even be calling the very survival of our species and all that we rely on to live as high ambition.  A species such as ours that is sentient and has intelligence is expected to understand what to do to save itself.  Yet we have not done so, blinded by different determinants of success and progress.”

 “I am glad that the DENR and the DFA sees their way clearly to joining in these initiatives.  Both have determined that these commitments are, after all, already within their plans.  I therefore challenge all of government, in the crafting of the Philippine Development Plan and in their planning and budgeting to ensure that these commitments can be fulfilled.”

“I call on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to ensure that the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area Systems (E-NIPAS) Act, or Republic Act No. 11038, is fully funded as required by law.  We cannot expect to save our remaining natural ecosystems in these protected areas without the necessary personnel.”

“I call on the Department of Education (DepEd) to fully implement the Environmental Awareness and Education Act, or Republic Act No. 9512, and ensure that we are training students not just for a workforce that will drastically change as we confront climate change but for a greener future, to enter into what the Green Jobs Act, Republic Act No. 10771, will generate”

“I call on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to strategize under a changing climate, reconsidering coastal development that reduces greenbelts and mangroves in favor of concrete infrastructure, to focus instead on ecosystem management infrastructure such as septic, septage and treatment systems, and support to public transportation instead of the irrational addition to the road network despite the higher and higher costs of fossil fuels.”

 These are but a few of the agencies who might persuade themselves that this crisis and this 30×30 campaign does not involve them. But for preserving the life-giving capacity of our archipelago, we need all hands-on deck, a whole of government and a whole of society approach.”