File photo of Climate Commissioner Albert Dela Cruz Sr. (left) with SGV partner Benjamin Villacorte (right). (Photo Courtesy of SGV & Co.)
MANILA — The first day of May 2023 is a red letter day for the Marcos administration’s climate action program as international and local partners and top government executives converge at the prestigious Marriott Hotel in Clark, Pampanga to attend the first-ever Climate Partnership Forum on Reforestation, Waste Management, and Carbon Trading.
Organized by the Climate Change Commission (CCC), forum proponent in CCC Commissioner Albert Dela Cruz Sr. expects the participation of foreign dignitaries from the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore as well as local officials led by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga.
In an interview, Commissioner Dela Cruz said the CCC organized the forum to draw the attention of the private sector and the government as well as partners and investors from the international community towards the importance of a whole-of-nation and -community approach in combating climate change and global warming.
In this regard, the climate official cited the importance of organizing concerted efforts of initiating immediate climate action and to enhance this it is important to give recognition to individuals and groups who are willing to help in ensuring that proper policies, programs, and projects are implemented so that mitigation and adaptation to the impacts and benefits of climate change are achieved.
He stressed that climate action is not only the government’s responsibility but should be participated by everyone as it not only adversely affects the whole country but also the whole world as seen by the extreme weather incidents that are being experienced all over the globe.
Despite a modest assessment of the country’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2023 to 2028 with the increase in forest cover and general improvement of protected areas in the archipelago, he likewise noted that the country’s positive gains still fall short of improving our overall performance in environmental and climate action.
In the 2022 Environmental Performance Index, the Philippines was ranked 158th out of 180 countries in environmental sustainability, which covers performance indicators on ecosystem vitality (e.g., biodiversity, water resources), environmental health (e.g., air quality, waste management), and climate change.
Moreover, the 2022 World Risk Index tagged the Philippines as first among 193 countries with the highest disaster risks, citing that between 2011 and 2021, the country incurred ₱673.0 billion worth of damage and losses due to tropical cyclones alone.
Dela Cruz warned that if there is no adequate action to address the impact of climate change, said damages and losses from climate change are expected to reach up to 7.6 percent and 13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2030 and 2040, respectively.
“Hence, the PDP strategy framework to Accelerate Climate Action and Strengthen Disaster Resilience will prioritize enhancing adaptation as a priority climate action in the country. Nature-based solutions (NBS), however, are a priority key to efforts for climate change action because these will sustain the provision of ecosystem goods and services, reduce the intersecting vulnerabilities and address complexities in managing the compounding and cascading risks posed by climate change across forestry, biodiversity, water, and other sectors,” he pointed out.