Report on the 23rd World Economic Forum on East Asia

May 26, 2014

Privilege Speech: Report on the 23rd World Economic Forum on East Asia

26 May 2014 – Senate Session Hall



Mr. President,


I have the honor to report to this chamber key issues discussed during the 23rd World Economic Forum on East Asia, particularly the session on Designing Solutions for Climate and Resource Risks where I was a panelist and discussion leader.


The Philippine hosting of WEF gave us the opportunity to tell the region and the world that we are back in business and that despite the calamities and the global financial crisis, our economy has grown by more than 6% over the past 8 quartersand last year, it grew by 7.2%.


Inclusive growth, equitable progress and sustainable development were the key issues discussed. But one notable message that was brought to the fore in several sessions is resilient growth.


No less than President Aquino, during the Opening Plenary, said that the impacts of climate change must be considered in all our development plans and that we are gradually moving “towards a direction that includes resilience in the face of disaster.”


Resilience should be integral to both corporate and public governance.


We can ensure our economic resilience by reducing disaster risks, letting investors be aware of it, and requiring business investments to take into account disaster risk reduction and management measures.


As legislators, we are urged to address gaps in policies through measures that will: link science and policy-making; finance mechanisms for climate and energy solutions—including energy efficiency, clean technology and green infrastructure investment; and enable the private business and financial community to support comprehensive climate and energy policies and to invest in climate and clean energy solutions.


These messages were echoed by the co-chairs of the 23rdWorld Economic Forum during the Closing Plenary.


Co-chair Takeshi Niinami, CEO of Lawson in Japan, stressed that resilience is important and technology must be used to combat disaster risks.


Co-chair Atsutoshi Nishida, Chairman of the Board of Toshiba Corporation in Japan, said that we must aim for a resilient East Asia because the impact of natural hazards can affect sustainability. We should train our sights on a climate-resilient future, prepare for disasters, protect the environment and use clean technologies.
Meanwhile, Co-chair James T. Riady, CEO of Lippo Group in Indonesia, stressed the importance of inclusive growth and highlighted the need to address unemployment among youth and gaps in the agriculture sector.


Mr. President,


In climate risks, there could sometimes be no second chances. Because of climate change, poverty alleviation and achieving food security will become increasingly difficult, new poverty traps will arise as existing obstacles remain, and economic growth will slow down.


The United Nations said economic losses from disasters are “out of control.”  We should reverse this situation. We need to be in control. Resilience should be at the core of our development policies and strategies.


Thank you, Mr. President.***