PH seeks seamless implementation of climate projects

GLASGOW – The Philippines has proposed that governments and multilateral development banks (MDBs) work closely together in addressing the transitional adjustments that might have to be undertaken by the concerned sectors to ensure the seamless implementation of climate-related projects on the ground. 
Department of Finance (DOF) Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven said that while MDBs like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have been actively supporting the Philippines’ clean energy transition efforts, more work needs to be done in implementing the country’s “just transition principles.” 
Speaking at a recent forum hosted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) here, Joven cited as an example the ADB’s support for a project that aims to replace gas-guzzling and inefficient public utility vehicles (PUVs), such as tricycles plying urban areas, with more energy-efficient electric-powered ones. 
He said this project had passed the ADB’s environment, social, and gender safeguards, but critical support was deemed necessary to ensure its sustainability, such as the setting up of more and accessible charging terminals for the vehicles and providing assistance to drivers shifting to the new transportation system. 
Joven said additional studies should be done when putting in place innovations or new systems that support climate change-related initiatives to determine whether these would already work under existing regulatory frameworks, or would require new legislation to ensure their efficient implementation.
“While positive leaps have been achieved in the area of climate policy and transitional justice, we should pursue initiatives at the project level to ensure not only that project implementation is seamless but more importantly that important issues on transitional justice and other allied objectives are met,” he added. 
The forum with the theme “MDB Support for a Just Transition -- From Common Principles to Policy Support and Finance for a Just Transition”  is a side event at the  United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). 
Joven said the Philippines is a leader in the area of game-changing climate legislation as a result of the support extended by ADB and other multilateral institutions in the form of policy-based loans and technical assistance. 
As early as 2008, when its Renewable Energy Act was passed by Congress, Joven said the Philippines has been adopting just transition principles in the areas of climate change and fossil fuel reduction.
These include the subsequent enactment of laws such as the Climate Change Act in 2009 and the Green Jobs Act of 2016, he said. 
“The various laws cited earlier are proof of this strong collaboration between the government and institutions like the ADB and World Bank (WB).  In fact, to further accelerate the climate change agenda, the government is in negotiations with both the ADB and the European Union (EU) on a new climate policy-based loan,” Joven said. 
Joven also cited critical government policies like the Adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 and the  recent submission of the Philippines’  Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC); the International Labor Organization (ILO) application of Just Transition Guidelines in the Philippines in 2017; and the Issuance of Guidelines for Green Economy Models in 2017 as among the country’s initiatives to “put the issue of just transition  front and center of climate change discussions.”   
Among the other participants in the EBRD-hosted forum were Iryna Stavchuk, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine; and representatives from the  MDB Paris Alignment Working Group, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change  (UNFCCC), ILO,  and Institute for Human Rights and Business. (PR)