THE Philippines looks forward to the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund for countries greatly affected by climate change as it ramps up proactive discussion and climate change solutions in the 28th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
For the Philippines, as a nation highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, the establishment of such a Fund is extremely important, according to Enviroment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Gonzaga, head of the 150-strong Philippine delegation.
“The Loss and Damage Fund is extremely important because there are climate-related adverse impacts that are beyond our ability to finance,” said Loyzaga, noting that sea level rise and the massive destruction brought about by super typhoons that hit the country from Yolanda (Haiyan) to Odette (Rai) have crossed multiple regions, “so the cost of really trying to recoup and recover from this is way beyond what we are able to afford as a country.”
On Thursday, Loyzaga was designated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to take the lead in this global climate meeting, as he announced a last-minute decision to cancel his trip to Dubai, citing latest developments in the case of 17 Filipino seafarers taken by Houthi rebels who boarded their oil tanker in the Red Sea.
The Philippines will be working on seven major working streams during the 13-day COP28 meeting.
The Loss and Damage Fund is meant to cover all the financing needed that cannot be addressed by adaptation finance, regular climate finance, or mitigation finance, Loyzaga said.
Developed countries and other sources such as private sources therefore will be called upon to contribute to its operationalization in a timely and locally-driven manner.
Loyzaga added the Philippines is at the point where it will need to do a thorough review of the country’s commitment to a 75-percent GHG emissions reduction. This represents the country’s ambition for GHG mitigation for the sectors of agriculture, waste, industry, transport, and energy for the period 2020-2030.
“I think it is extremely important for us to be heard by other countries because what we’re trying to do is really approach our climate resilience by twinning adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction. And that will involve the social, economic, environmental, and scientific efforts of our whole government,” she added.
The Paris Agreement calls for keeping global warming in check by limiting temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C, and the reduction of GHG emissions by 45 percent by 2030, to reach net zero by 2050. Net zero means bringing down global GHG emissions to almost zero, while the residual or remaining GHG emission is captured or absorbed by, for example, the forests that sequester carbon dioxide, a major GHG.
Meanwhile, Loyzaga said the Philippine participation in COP28 seeks to amplify calls for developed nations to fulfill their commitments to developing countries in the areas of climate finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building.
“Moreover, our exposure internationally will open opportunities for access to financial and technical support that we need as a country vulnerable to climate change,” she said.
In recognition of the country’s work on oceans and biodiversity, Loyzaga has been invited to speak at a number of side events.
These include panel discussions on oceans and climate, minerals and climate, nature-based solutions, and innovative financing that needs to go into the work related to loss and damage and adaptation. The Philippines’s efforts on green shipping and supporting the reskilling and upskilling of seafarers and workers in the energy sector in relation to the transition to renewable energy have also been recognized.
Centered around the three major themes, Low Carbon Economic Development, Building Resilient Communities, and Protecting Biodiversity, the Philippine delegation will push for transformative climate governance, ramped-up efforts to decarbonize the global economy, and implementation of nature-based solutions consistent with the country’s priority agenda.
The Marcos administration has committed to reducing the Philippines’ GHG emissions, aligning with global commitments under the Paris Agreement.
COP28 is part of the broader 2023 UN Climate Change Conferences—the world’s highest decision-making body on climate issues. The annual conference gathers world leaders, top-level government officials, technical experts, and other stakeholders to discuss and negotiate specific action plans to mitigate climate change risks, reduce GHG emissions, and address global warming.
Aside from participating in the main meetings, selected national government agencies, development partners, the private sector and civil society will be hosting over 30 panel discussions, presentations, and networking opportunities at the country’s pavilion as part of the conference’s Side Events. Themed “Together Today for Tomorrow,” these events are designed to connect and unite a diverse range of stakeholders focused on climate solutions, such as in data governance, nature, land use and oceans, disaster resilience, energy transition, transforming food systems, and climate financing.