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Philippines seeks to host climate disaster fund — Marcos

Philippines seeks to host climate disaster fund � Marcos
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. leads the ceremonial turnover of the People’s Survival Fund in the Malacañang Palace. (Presidential Communications Office) 

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. urged prompt establishment of the “Loss and Damage Fund,” aimed at aiding vulnerable nations hit by the climate crisis, while seeking backing for the Philippines’ bid to host the fund.

Represented by Special Assistant to the President Antonio Ernesto Lagdameo Jr., Marcos said that the Philippines “will announce its intent to host the Loss and Damage Fund.”

The “Loss and Damage Fund” aims to cover the expenses incurred due to climate impacts, a critical resource in the battle against climate change.

“The Philippines’ call for the immediate operationalization of this Fund to assist developing and vulnerable countries to respond to droughts, floods, and rising sea levels exacerbated by climate change,” Marcos said in his speech delivered by Lagdameo.

“We urge partners from the private sector, civil society, partner countries and governments, and developing funding institutions to support the Philippines in this bid. You have been there for meaningful collaboration with our government to tackle the climate crises,” he added.

The president’s call came during the inauguration of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) Philippine Pavilion themed “Together Today for Tomorrow” on Friday in Dubai.

On the inaugural day of the two-week COP28 conference, the establishment of the fund paved the way for governments to declare their contributions.

Several nations stepped up with initial pledges, igniting a sequence of commitments poised to grow during the conference. These included contributions such as $100 million from the host country, the United Arab Emirates, over $51 million from Britain, $17.5 million from the United States, and $10 million from Japan.

The European Union committed $245.39 million, encompassing Germany’s $100 million pledge.

Marcos also highlighted the immediate danger climate disruptions pose to vulnerable communities and reiterated the Philippines’ firm commitment to addressing these issues through proactive government measures.

“More than just an environmental issue; for us, it is a matter of survival, of justice, and of protecting the rights of our people. Thus, the Philippine Development Plan sealed the national development priorities on accelerating climate action and establishing sustainable and livable cities,” he said.

He revealed that the government has allocated P453.11 billion for climate change adaptation and mitigation in 2023, with an additional P889.65 million designated for local government units’ climate change adaptation programs through the “People’s Survival Fund.”

Marcos also emphasized actions beyond money, highlighting the Philippines’ move towards using more renewable energy, aiming for 35% by 2023.

“We are on track towards achieving a 35-percent renewable energy share in the power generation mix by 2023 through policy reforms that allow more investors for offshore wind and floating solar. We need to protect our forests, our oceans, and our biodiversity,” the president said.

“The Philippines, being a megadiverse country, is home to 50,000 species of flora and fauna, 50 percent of which can only be found in the country. We are intensifying the protection of natural resources to restore natural ecosystems and maximize ecosystem services that will benefit indigenous peoples and local communities,” he added.

Before ending his speech, Marcos expressed gratitude for the Official Development Assistance (ODA), valuing P164.17 billion for diverse climate change projects, as well as the Asian Development Bank and the British Government for aiding in finalizing the Philippines’ “National Adaptation Plan” and the “Nationally Determined Contribution Implementation Plan.” — Kristine Daguno-Bersamina

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