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Senate Approves Paris Agreement on 2nd Reading, Concurrence Soon

March 9, 2017

The Senate has approved on second reading the Resolution Concurring in the Accession to the Paris Agreement after Senator Loren Legarda’s sponsorship on Wednesday evening.

Legarda, who chaired the Subcommittee on the Paris Agreement under the Committee on Foreign Relations, said the Senate is set to approve it on third reading next week, which would signal complete accession to the treaty.

“I thank my colleagues in the Senate for their support to the Agreement. I hope for the unanimous approval on third reading next week. As Party to the Agreement, we can influence the decisions on how the accord will be implemented and we maintain our leadership role in the international climate talks and advocacy,” said Legarda.

The Senator explained that the Agreement would be beneficial to a vulnerable developing nation like the Philippines.

“The Paris Agreement is a vehicle towards achieving climate justice as it compels developed nations that have contributed most to cause global warming to finance the Green Climate Fund and provide support to developing and vulnerable nations through capacity building and technology transfer,” she said.

The principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and the Loss and Damage Mechanism are enshrined in the accord.

“The principle of CBDR is prevalent in many provisions of the Agreement. Developing countries are provided some flexibility in the implementation of its obligations and will be provided with the tools and means to do so,” Legarda said.

She added that Parties have also agreed on a process to determine what approaches and arrangements are needed to best address the needs of those countries and communities who have contributed least but are impacted most from climate change, like the Philippines.

The principle of CBDR has long been the foundation of the Philippines’ negotiating stance. Equity is the foundation of CBDR. It implies that different capacities must trigger different responsibilities, so that the required actions should differ among countries, based on their national circumstances.

Moreover, under the Agreement, the Warsaw Mechanism for Loss and Damage may be enhanced and strengthened. Vulnerable countries will need a robust lost and damage mechanism to answer to those impacts of climate change that cannot anymore be managed through mitigation and adaptation.

“The Paris Agreement establishes the obligation of all Parties to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Agreement is governed by voluntary mitigation contributions and transparent processes that will ensure continued collective progress towards meeting the ambitious global goal,” said Legarda.

The Philippines, as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) during the Paris climate talks last December 2015, was among the most influential in the crafting of the Paris Agreement as it led the call to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to be able to survive.

From the day the Paris Agreement was signed by more than a hundred countries on April 22, 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York where Legarda was present, the Senator has called on the Philippines and all nations to immediately ratify the Agreement.

Legarda, principal author of the Climate Change Law and Chair of the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, has been working behind the scenes in pushing for the Philippines’ ratification, explaining the Agreement to Cabinet members, including the President’s economic team, and at the same time coordinating with various climate organizations on the way forward.

“Our ratification will send a strong signal of our continuing commitment to work with the rest of the world in ensuring the survival of this generation and the generations to come, and the ability of the Earth to sustain life,” Legarda concluded.