THE Philippine delegation is working on seven major negotiating working schemes at the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) happening now in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
These are loss and damage, climate finance, adaptation, mitigation, the global stocktake, the just transition, especially of labor towards a renewable energy future, “but also specifically our concerns about retraining and upskilling our workforce. And finally …Article 6, which is how we cooperate globally,” Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said via text message to members of the Philippine media back in the Philippines. She heads the 150-member Philippine delegation.
There are 30 complex negotiations ahead, but she said the team that flew to Dubai for the COP28 is well-prepared.
“I want to say that this is a whole-of-government approach. So we have the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). We have the Department of Agriculture (DA) as well. And of course, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), the Department of Health (DOH), of course, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), of course, Climate Change Commission (CCC). All of us are working together,” said Loyzaga, a climate expert who used to head the Manila Observatory before being named DENR Secretary by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
According to Yulo-Loyzaga, the COP28 negotiators are at a turning point in terms of climate negotiations.
Loss, damage on agenda
“They are very critical negotiations in this particular COP because after a long fight, we now have loss and damage on the agenda that will be submitted by the transitional committee without question, I understand, into the agenda for the COP,” she said.
“We anticipate at this point that there will be many issues relating to climate-vulnerable countries that will be addressed by this loss and damage fund,” she said.
Essentially, Yulo-Loyzaga said the Philippine participation in COP28 will center around three major themes.
She said the delegation will be presenting the Philippines this year as having done all the work in terms of biodiversity, and renewable energy planning, and cite the effort in building resilient communities. The team will center the Philippine positions around three general themes, namely: Pursuit of a low-carbon future which is sustainable and resilient for the country; Instituting nature-based solutions; and Banking on our biodiversity to work with other countries as well as the community in the country on resilience based on adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction; and then lastly, resilient community.
“We need to engage down to the local governments for us to be able to build resilience at the front line. So here at COP, finance is a huge theme,” she said.
Lastly, the DENR chief said the Philippines has a small Philippine Pavilion. There will be 32 major side events that will be co-hosted by the Philippine delegation.