A lawmaker announced last Sunday he is “strongly” supporting the proposal of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on the immediate implementation of the “loss and damage” fund (LDF), which provides financial support to economies like the Philippines that are grappling with the severe impacts of climate change.
A statement issued by the office of Camarines Sur Rep. LRay F. Villafuerte quoted the senior lawmaker as hoping that the intricate details of funding sources and beneficiaries will be resolved by the conclusion of the annual United Nations (UN) climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In addition to endorsing Marcos’s call for the swift implementation of the LDF, Villafuerte supported the idea of the Philippines hosting this fund.
The newly-established LDF garnered about $424 million in voluntary contributions on the first day of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) from November 30 to December 12.
COP28 delegates have agreed to operationalize the much-anticipated LDF.
Climate Change Commission (CCC) Executive Director Robert EA Borje lauded the historic development since it will “compensate countries grappling with loss and damage due to climate change.”
Countries that pledged to contribute to the LDF include the COP28 host, the UAE, with $100 million. The others were: Germany ($100); United Kingdom (GBP60 million or $75 million); Japan ($10 million); and, the United States ($17.5 million).
Historic move forward
BORJE said during his intervention during the ceremonial opening of the COP28 that “the operationalization of the LDF is a historic move forward.”
“It is proof positive of what we can do as an international community,” the Philippine delegate in the COP28 added.
Borje noted that negotiation on the details on the qualified countries and the process for application for the LDF is still ongoing.
However, Villafuerte highlighted the uncertainty surrounding guaranteed loss and damage financing beyond 2023 as the initial contributions were voluntary donations from a few countries. Villafuerte noted that the initial funds raised during COP28, totaling $423.89 million, fall short of the $100-billion yearly commitment pledged by rich nations at COP15 in Denmark in 2009.
Nonetheless, Borje said in Dubai that COP28 parties must “remember [that] loss and damage is at the latter end of the phenomenon spectrum.”
“We have to realize and remember the important work that also needs to be done for adaptation-mitigation efforts to be scaled up,” he added.
Earlier, Borje said such adaptation-mitigation funds will help minimize the impact of climate change on developing countries.
According to Villafuerte, the Philippines has the moral authority to push for the prompt operationalization of the LDF and propose the country as its host.
He also emphasized the need to address key issues, such as annual contributions from wealthy countries, eligibility criteria for loss and damage funding and fund administration, by the end of COP28.
Championing the cause
MEANWHILE, Villafuerte said that the Marcos administration “deserves credit for consistently championing the cause of climate justice in Dubai and other forums on the global stage like COP27, on behalf of developing economies such as the Philippines.”
The lawmaker also noted that albeit contributing little to global warming, the Philippines “unfortunately take on the brunt of the catastrophic weather changes resulting from the large-scale GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions of the world’s most affluent countries that are also its biggest carbon polluters.”
Villafuerte also cited Asian Development Bank (ADB) findings that emphasized the Philippines’s vulnerability to climate impacts due to its dependence on coastal areas and natural resources.
Villafuerte underscored the importance of effective adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures to combat intensified cyclones, flooding, and landslides predicted by the ADB.
He also noted the government’s allocation of P453.11 billion for climate change adaptation and mitigation in 2023 and the grant of P889.65 million in People’s Survival Fund (PSF) funds to local government units for climate change adaptation programs.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources earlier said it is hopeful the country will qualify for the LDF since the country has suffered from extreme weather incidents attributed to climate change despite contributing less than one percent of global carbon emissions.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes