Sotto presides over 141st Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly’s climate debate

Senate President Vicente Sotto III

SENATE President Vicente Sotto III presided over a debate on a resolution drafted by the Inter-Parliamentary Group of India addressing climate change during the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in Belgrade, Serbia.

Sotto was the first Filipino parliamen-tarian to chair the IPU debate on a resolution addressing climate change. The IPU was expected to adopt the resolution before its closing ceremonies on Friday.

“It’s a rare privilege and great honor to preside over an important emergency matter such as the climate-change resolution… which led to a successful and orderly plenary debates on the issue,” the Senate chief said.

Last October 11, the Indian Inter-Parliamentary Group asked IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong to include the resolution on climate change in the agenda of the 141st IPU assembly held from October 13 to October 17.

The resolution submitted by the Indian parliamentarians cited three issues which needed to be tackled.

“The first one pertains to the fact that developed countries have had to take a demonstrable lead in combating climate change. The second is the need to pursue climate-friendly lifestyles for ensuring sustainable development, and the third is to ensure ways and means for humanity to cope with and adapt to a changing climate regime,” the resolution said.

“The draft resolution by India seeks to draw the attention of the world community to these three neglected issues which are at the heart of the climate-change challenge confronting humanity,” it added.

The resolution urged all parties to implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, which laid down the broad principles and basis of climate action, namely on the basis of equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in accordance with national capabilities.

The convention also delineated the responsibilities and commitments of developed and developing countries, and the broad nature and content of these responsibilities and commitments.

In particular, the resolution urged developed countries to take the lead in climate mitigation and to provide financial, technological and capacity-building assistance to the developing countries.

“The resolution seeks to draw the attention of the global community through the voice of the parliamentarians of 179 countries to these three significant dimensions of global climate action that must be the focus,” the Indian parliamentarians explained.

Sotto  joined over 1,700 delegates at the assembly, which coincided with the union’s 130th anniversary.

Rules-based world

The Senate President earlier delivered a speech urging parliamentarians worldwide to promote regional parliamentary cooperation within the ambits of international law.

By adopting international benchmarks and standards, he said, parliaments pursue the path of negotiation, conciliation and arbitration instead of the rule of force.

“Strengthening international law is very timely as the world has become more globalized. Increased trade among our nations and the emergence of a global culture has made us more interconnected and interdependent,” Sotto, who headed the Philippine delegation, said.

In a rules-based world, Sotto explained, legal and ethical arguments prevail over brute force.

“That is why countries outside the Great Powers and developing states, like the Philippines have turned to international law as the great equalizer,” Sotto said.

For majority of the nations, he said, their role in international law is expressed in their parliament’s power to concur in the ratification of treaties. For instance, he said, the Philippines’s Constitution stipulates that “no treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.”

He cited the boundary agreement between the Philippines and Indonesia as an example of a peaceful settlement of territorial boundaries between nations.

Image credits: PRIB/Cesar Tomambo


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