Our Continuing Call to Action

March 2, 2015

Privilege Speech
Our Continuing Call to Action
2 March 2015 | Senate Session Hall

Mr. President,


On women’s month, I rise as a woman who seeks not only gender equality, but also equality for generations, that future generations would equally receive the benefits of a balanced and healthful ecology. I rise as a mother who, like Mother Earth, cares not only for my own children but also for my children’s children, and who would appreciate that the love and care we give are reciprocated with respect and equal care.


It is on this note that we have been calling everyone—nations, governments, all sectors of society, and individuals—to act towards the protection of our environment, to heal the wounds that we have inflicted on Mother Earth, to combat the greatest challenge humanity now faces—the climate crisis.


On February 26 to 27, 2015, French Republic President Francois Hollande visited the Philippines to drum up support towards climate action.


A highlight of his visit was the launch of the joint Philippines-France statement, the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change,which I, along with French actress Marion Cotillard, was honored to read.


The document is a joint appeal of the two nations urging the international community towards climate action and cooperation and to ensure a successful global climate agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or COP 21, which will be hosted by France in December 2015.


Recall that in 2008, parliamentarians from the Philippines, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Uganda and the East African Legislative Assembly, launched The Manila Call for Action of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation with the goal of creating an enabling environment for promoting disaster risk reduction, to mainstream it into socioeconomic development, and make it a national and international priority.


This 2008 call for action was a result of the consultative meeting for global parliamentarians, which this representation, as the UNISDR Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, convened here in Manila.


Then and now, our call has always been: collective action towards sustainability and resilience. We are sounding the alarm on the urgency to act against the climate crisis.


Mr. President, allow me to read these two calls for action so that it is officially on the records of the Senate.


The Manila Call for Action of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation
Adopted on 18 October 2008 in Manila, Philippines

We, Parliamentarians from the Kingdom of Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Costa Rica, Ghana, the Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Uganda, and the East African Legislative Assembly, met at the first UNISDR Consultative Meeting with Parliamentarians on 17-18 October 2008 in Manila, Philippines, focusing our discussions on making Disaster Risk Reduction a tool for Climate Change Adaptation, we parliamentarians convinced that:


(1) Pro-active and preventive strategies are needed to decrease human vulnerability to disaster and climate change, especially that of the poor and with particular attention to women, to safeguard human security, promote sustainable development, and alleviate poverty;


(2) Disaster risk reduction is an international, national and community priority and is the first line of defense for adapting to climate change;


(3) A comprehensive strategic approach is needed for creating an enabling environment for political and financial commitment in reducing human, social, economic and environmental vulnerability to climate related hazards.


We, Parliamentarians, recognizing:


(4) That climate change, increasing urban vulnerability and rapid environmental degradation are exacerbating the magnitude and impact of disasters, especially in developing countries, making adaptation a matter of urgency.


(5) That industrialized countries have a historical responsibility for climate change and are morally obliged to financially and technologically assist developing countries in their efforts to reduce their vulnerability and adapt to its consequences, while reducing their own GHG emissions.


(6) The European Parliament resolution calling for a long-term financing goal for the EU’s Global Climate Change Alliance.


(7) That climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction are closely linked, that effective disaster risk reduction will enhance adaptive capacity; and therefore that immediate action is needed to synergize disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation as a requirement for attaining the Millennium Development Goals and ensuring sustainable development.


We, Parliamentarians, commit:


(8) To promoting close collaboration between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction experts and institutions with a view to increasing efficiency and effectiveness in reducing peoples’ vulnerability to climate-related disasters.


(9) To promoting the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015:

Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters to reduce climate-related risks and vulnerabilities.


(10) To advocating policy changes to advance disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation at national and international levels.


(11) To enacting legislation for disaster risk reduction at national level and promoting it at international and local levels.


(12) To promoting an enabling political environment to establish cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.


We, Parliamentarians, call on:


(13) Parliamentarians around the world, especially in countries vulnerable to disasters, to take a pro-active role in advancing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in order to protect lives and livelihoods.


(14) The Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations to work together in developing and elaborating an international legal framework to secure the synergy between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.


(15) The international community to provide greater priority to and more resources for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.


(16) National governments to ensure better use of existing resources by making disaster risk reduction a tool for climate change adaptation.


We, Parliamentarians, take immediate action and will:


(17) Deliver statements in our respective Parliaments to report on the outcome of the Manila Consultative Meeting.


(18) Call on Governments to make disaster risk reduction a tool for climate change adaptation at national and local levels, including in the National Adaptation Plans.


(19) Inquire into the compliance of Government with the Hyogo Framework for Action.


(20) Propose legislation to mandate the mainstreaming of gender-sensitive disaster risk reduction in national and regional development plans, including for climate change adaptation.


(21) Establish, where possible, regional networks of parliamentarians in Asia, Africa and Latin America similar to Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) -Europe/EU to promote the linkage between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, among other issues.



Manila Call To Action On Climate Change
Launched on 26 February 2015 in Malacañang, Manila, Philippines

(1) We, the Heads of State of the Republic of the Philippines and of the Republic of France, along with leading individuals from different countries committed to climate action gathered in Manila today, wish to engage the international community, all stakeholders and world opinion, on the urgency of addressing climate change seriously, efficiently, and equitably.


(2) Less than a year ahead of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) which will take place in Paris in December 2015, the outcome of which will affect the lives of billions of people, we call upon the international community to conclude a universal, equitable and ambitious climate deal, in line with the scientific recommendations set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to preserve our planet as a livable place for future generations. From Manila today, we hope to make history together in Paris in December and not simply watch history unfold.


(3) We call for climate action.


(4) As we meet in the Philippines, where people have endured an unprecedented series of extreme weather events in the last few years, we are reminded that while the developing countries have contributed least to climate change, they are the ones that suffer the most from climate change impacts. While we face similar threats and shared vulnerabilities, we have also varying strengths and capacities to address these challenges. However, we believe that our vulnerabilities and exposure to climate-induced hazards can be reduced. In the face of these, the people of the Philippines have shown extraordinary resilience.


(5) We call for climate solidarity and justice.


(6) We need an agreement negotiated and accepted by everyone and for everyone, an agreement that takes all differences in situations into account, and aims at bridging varying perspectives to hasten collective action. We need an agreement that reduces emissions, creates economic opportunities and equips us to manage the associated risks that are already locked in for the foreseeable future.


(7) We call for climate cooperation.


(8) Economic growth, poverty reduction, and sustainable development can and must be achieved together. But ensuring equitable access to sustainable development for all will require enhanced means of implementation.


(9) We call for financial and technological solidarity.


(10) Considering that we are reaching the point of no return on climate change and that we must shift from intentions to action, we solemnly call on:


A.     All States to work concretely and swiftly to fight climate change, notably its impacts, and further invite them to present their intended nationally determined contributions, based on their respective national circumstances and capabilities;


B.      Developed countries, and developing countries in a position and willing to do so, to provide the poorest and most vulnerable countries with adequate means of implementation, to help them achieve their transition to resilient territories and low-carbon economies;


C.      All stakeholders, States, local governments, businesses private sector, civil society and non-governmental organizations, academia, and citizens, to play their full role in tackling the effects of climate change and reducing the risks of climate related disasters, through individual efforts and cooperative initiatives; and


D.     Everyone to echo this appeal to raise awareness of the urgent action everywhere, and reach a successful global climate agreement this December in Paris.



Thank you, Mr. President.