MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday called on world leaders to support the Philippines’ bid to host the “Loss and Damage Fund” to ensure the prompt operationalization of the fund to help developing countries cope with the extreme impacts of climate change.
Marcos made the call in a speech delivered by Special Assistant to the President Antonio Ernesto Lagdameo Jr. during the opening of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) Philippine Pavilion.
He noted that the Philippines, which has “always been at the forefront of climate issues,” is pushing for just transition, as well as loss and damage financing.
Announcing the Philippines’ intent to host the Loss and Damage Fund, Marcos emphasized the urgency to confront climate impact, considering reports from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change that it would “severely affect” the vulnerable and poor communities.
“The Philippines calls for the immediate operationalization of this Fund to assist developing and vulnerable countries to respond to droughts, floods, and rising sea levels exacerbated by climate change,” he said.
“We urge partners from the private sector, civil society, partner countries, and governments, and developing funding institutions to support the Philippines in this bid. You have been there for meaningful collaboration with our government to tackle the climate crises.”
United Arab Emirates’ Sultan al-Jaber, president of the ongoing COP28 climate conference in Dubai, committed USD100 million to the fund.
Germany pledged a similar amount, while the United States and Japan also announced contributions to the fund.
The operationalization of the fund, which would compensate for the loss and damage, was approved during the COP28 summit.
World Bank president Ajay Banga, in an event at COP28 in Dubai on Friday, said the international financial institution would play a limited role in managing the day-to-day operations of the fund, adding that donors and recipients would likely control how financial resources are spent.
Amid all the challenges, Marcos said the Philippine government has put into action transformative solutions to curb the impact of climate change and address biodiversity loss and pollution.
“More than just an environmental issue; for us, it is a matter of survival, of justice, and of protecting the rights of our people. Thus, the Philippine Development Plan sealed the national development priorities on accelerating climate action and establishing sustainable and livable cities,” he said.
The President noted that the government has allotted PHP453.11 billion for climate change adaptation and mitigation for 2023, while PHP889.65 million has been granted to local government units for climate change adaptation programs and projects under the “People’s Survival Fund.”
He added that aside from ensuring sufficient funds for climate change mitigation efforts, the Philippines is heading for low-carbon development, as it remains to be the third largest geothermal power producer next to the United States and Indonesia.
“We are on track towards achieving a 35-percent renewable energy share in the power generation mix by 2023 through policy reforms that allow more investors for offshore wind and floating solar. We need to protect our forests, our oceans, and our biodiversity,” Marcos said.
“The Philippines, being a megadiverse country, is home to 50,000 species of flora and fauna, 50 percent of which can only be found in the country. We are intensifying the protection of natural resources to restore natural ecosystems and maximize ecosystem services that will benefit indigenous peoples and local communities.”
Marcos also extended his gratitude for the Official Development Assistance (ODA) for PHP164.17 billion worth of various climate change projects.
He also thanked the Asian Development Bank and the British government for their support in the completion of the Philippines’ National Adaptation Plan and the Nationally Determined Contribution Implementation Plan.
“The challenges we face are huge, but so are the reasons to be hopeful,” Marcos said, adding that the Philippines would continue to rally everyone to draw inspiration from “these signs of progress that everyone in the world has achieved.” (PNA)