Speech of Senator Loren Legarda: Launch of the “Blue Nations – France and Philippines: Partners for the Oceans”

June 5, 2024

Launch of the “Blue Nations – France and Philippines: Partners for the Oceans”
June 5, 2024
Admiral Hotel, Manila

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am thrilled to be here today to follow through on what France and Costa Rica pioneered a few years ago, the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. Soon after the initiative, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework gained acceptance by much of the world and brought our goals to conserve 30% of the planet by 2030 closer to reality. I led the Philippines into assenting to the HAC, securing the commitment of the DENR and the DFA in acceding to the agreement.

The leadership of coastal nations is crucial for the protection of our oceans—those who experience the sands of Deauville in France, the Arribada in Tamarindo in Costa Rica, and the seaside cliffs of Palawan know full well what it means to love the sea. These are but tiny examples of these vast, life-sustaining bodies of water that cover over 70% of our planet that not only give us life-sustaining resources but also regulate the Earth’s climate and support diverse marine life.

Costa Rica, renowned for its biodiversity and pioneering environmental policies, has also made substantial contributions to ocean conservation. By expanding its marine protected areas and implementing effective measures against illegal fishing, Costa Rica has safeguarded critical habitats and fostered the recovery of marine species. Their innovative use of natural capital accounting underscores the importance of the ocean to both the environment and the economy. The Philippines is following suit when we recently passed a law I principally authored and sponsored the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System Act.

Natural capital accounting, as exemplified by Costa Rica, offers a transformative perspective on how we view and manage our natural resources. By recognizing the economic value of the services provided by healthy oceans—such as carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and fisheries—this approach aligns economic incentives with environmental stewardship.

Moreover, we are also about to pass the Blue Economy Bill which will engender greater investments in our ocean accounts and assets, including wastewater treatment, the generation of renewable ocean energy and low-impact tourism.

France has demonstrated remarkable leadership in marine conservation through initiatives such as the creation of extensive marine protected areas and the promotion of sustainable fishing practices. The French government’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 14 has been unwavering.

It is frequently said that we are separated by the oceans when in fact, it is what connects us all. We despoil it at our own peril. And we enrich it to our benefit.

Thank you. Isang Luntiang Pilipinas sa ating lahat!