Legarda stresses quick action vs climate change

October 16, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda emphasized the importance of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to help the Philippines spare the lives of millions of people.

Legarda, a United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Global Champion for Resilience, said that climate change presents a complex and multifaceted threat to the country, which is one of the world’s most vulnerable nations.

“Disasters do not discriminate; they exacerbate existing inequalities, pushing the most vulnerable communities further to the margins,” lamented Legarda in a speech read by Climate Change Commission (CCC) Commissioner Rachel Herrera during the launch of the 2024 Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction on Friday.

“Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation share a common space of concern and ambition: reducing the vulnerability of communities and achieving sustainable development,” she added.

During her pronouncements, Legarda detailed four salient points for solutions, the first of which is aligning the country’s strategies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will also address poverty reduction to gender equality.

Science must also be a deciding factor in transformative governance, as prescribed by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which emphasizes the need to understand risk in all dimensions.

There must also be proactive risk management and resilience-building measures, according to the veteran senator, as she underscored the need for comprehensive risk assessments, more powerful early warning systems, and investments in disaster-resilient infrastructure and systems.

Lastly, the Philippines must be able to integrate the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) into the country’s climate change and disaster resilience efforts.

“Aligning our strategies with the UNFCCC enhances international cooperation, strengthens our resolve to accelerate climate action, and advances sustainable development for a more secure and resilient future,” expounded Legarda.

“Now we stand at a crossroads where we must come together as one region and as a global community to take decisive steps,” she continued.

Championing the cause in the Senate, Legarda has enacted crucial pieces of legislation to address the burgeoning risk brought by climate change.

The four-term senator authored the Climate Change Act of 2009, the People’s Survival Fund Act, and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, laws that serve as the backbone of the country’s climate and disaster response.

“As the Philippines strives for climate resilience, we must also strive for climate justice,” asserted Legarda.

“The burden of climate change disproportionately falls on the most vulnerable communities and developing countries, despite their minimal contribution to the issue of climate change,” she furthered.

“We must, therefore, ensure to take strengthened and united action that will uplift those who are the most affected.”

The 2024 Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be hosted by the Philippines from Oct. 14-27, 2024, which will help present the host as a leader in public-private partnerships for climate and disaster resilience. (end)