Legarda: operationalize loss and damage fund

December 5, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda urged the nation to act on the results of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), currently happening in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Legarda, Un global champion of resilience, said that the world’s future, especially climate-vulnerable countries such as the Philippines, shall hinge on this conference, which is participated by the 198 United Nations member countries.

“We in the Senate must recognize the significance of the task at hand and the responsibility it entails for us as lawmakers and policy leaders of our climate-vulnerable nation,” asserted Legarda during her privilege speech.

“Considering the Philippines’ minimal contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, the issue of loss and damage becomes an undeniable matter of climate justice,” she added.

“We must not bear a disproportionate burden for a crisis we have contributed least to creating.”

Over the past century, climate change has caused rapid sea level rise, decline in water availability, and reduced crop yields due to extreme weather.

Emerging at the center of the discussions are proposed funding for vulnerable nations, technical support, and commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to climate-vulnerable countries such as the Philippines.

“Climate change action must go beyond the environment – it is an ecosystem of policies spanning energy, technology, social initiatives, governmental collaboration, public awareness, and now underpinned by finance,” remarked Legarda.

“We must recognize the efforts of the Philippines and other Parties in pushing for the operationalization of technical assistance and capacity-building mechanisms, such as the Santiago Network, to address climate risks in the context of averting, minimizing, and addressing loss and damage,” she continued.

Initial pledges made by the parties involved have been estimated to be USD400 million, with additional contributions being made for financial mechanisms soon.

While there is collective progress at COP28, the real action will start at home, where the government, private sector, civil society groups, and national technical experts go hand-in-hand for solutions, according to the four-term senator.

“Our stance remains clear and unwavering: those most responsible for climate change must do more for those least responsible,” stressed Legarda.

She also commended the recent signing of a law that will provide additional climate adaptation projects through the People’s Survival Fund (PSF).

The PSF had recently allocated over P541 million for six new climate adaptation initiatives such as Climate Field Schools, drainage systems, and agroforestry development in various areas across the country.

“I urge my fellow countrymen and women to view the challenges of climate change as opportunities for renewal and advancement,” told Legarda.

“Let us use this platform to rally the global community. Let us call upon nations to honor their commitments, especially in climate financing.” (30)