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UNISDR Appoints Legarda as Global Champion for Resilience

December 1, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda is now the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s (UNISDR) Global Champion for Resilience.

 

The appointment was announced by Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, on November 30 at the Climate Vulnerable Forum High Level Meeting at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference or COP 21.

 

The UNISDR recognized the Philippine Senator’s unrelenting and vigorous support in advancing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation nationally and internationally through legislation, policy leadership, and advocacy at all levels.

 

Legarda was a UNISDR Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific since 2008 before the Global Champion for Resilience award was conferred on her.

 

In a message, Legarda thanked Wahlstrom and the UNISDR for their recognition of her advocacy, “I wish to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom, who has been most supportive in our initiatives to strengthen resilience of the various institutions in my country. You have ably led the UNISDR in empowering nations, business, individuals and the whole of society to build safer communities. I thank you for the trust given to me as Global Champion for Resilience.”

 

Legarda is the country’s foremost environmental legislator. She is the principal author and sponsor of the Climate Change Act of 2009 that created the Climate Change Commission, the lead Philippine agency that negotiates in the yearly climate talks, including COP 21.

 

She has been chiefly responsible for the enactment of many other Philippine laws on environmental governance like the Clean Air Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Renewable Energy Act, Environmental Awareness and Education Act, People’s Survival Fund Law, and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act.

 

As incumbent chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, she encouraged and ensured the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the annual budgets of government agencies, an approach she has been advocating for since 2010.

 

Through her advocacy as UNISDR regional champion, Legarda has conveyed to world leaders the need to rethink approaches to development in the context of our fast changing global environment and the increasingly warming planet.

 

In meeting Maldives’ former president Mohamed Nasheed in 2009, Legarda articulated the need for cooperation and unity of voice among developing countries like the Philippines and the Maldives that are vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Now, the Philippines is the incumbent President of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), an advocacy platform for the group of vulnerable countries that is highly regarded by the international community.

 

Using all avenues of communication for increasing public awareness, Legarda spearheaded a behavior-changing education campaign on understanding risk and strengthening disaster and climate resilience.

 

She worked with various government agencies to create the Disaster Preparedness Handbook, and produced films that explain disaster risk and climate change, its impact on our everyday lives and how leaders can strive for a resilient development. These films, namely: Ulan sa Tag-Araw: Isang Dokyu-drama Ukol sa Pagbabago ng  Klima, Ligtas Likas, Buhos, Now is the Time (for UNISDR), and Ligtas.

 

In the year 2000, the World Economic Forum held in Davos named Legarda as one of the Global Leaders for Tomorrow. In 2001, the United Nations Environment Programme  included her in the Global 500 Roll of Honor. The University of the Philippines, her alma mater, also recognized her as its Distinguished Alumna for Environmental Conservation and Climate Change Adaptation (2013).