A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made the urgency for effective climate action by all levels of government and other stakeholders even more pressing, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
IPCC, the world’s official body for assessment of climate change, recently released its Synthesis Report confirming that humans are unequivocally increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to record levels; and unless immediate actions are taken, losses and damages will continue to increase into the future, putting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems at risk.
The synthesis report was finalized by the IPCC during its 58th Session held in Interlaken, Switzerland from March 13 to 17.
The Philippine Delegation to the IPCC plenary session was composed of DENR Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, CCC Commissioner Rachel Anne S. Herrera, and IPCC Contributing Author for the Working Group I of the Sixth Assessment Report Dr. Faye Abigail T. Cruz, head of the Regional Climate Systems Laboratory of the Manila Observatory.
“Every fraction of a degree counts and we are in no position to waste time. The Synthesis Report will be crucial in shaping evidence-informed decisions and actions, particularly for developing and vulnerable countries,” Rebuelta-Teh said in a statement she delivered on behalf of the Philippine Delegation.
The latest IPCC report highlighted the need to accelerate climate action and adaptation measures. To limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the report stated that deep, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will be required across all sectors.
“We reiterate the call for flexible and accessible means of implementation for adaptation, through climate finance, technologies, and country-driven technical assistance that reflects the need for local, context-specific and demand driven adaptation to address each country’s specific risk profile,” Rebuelta-Teh said.
In its intervention during the week-long plenary session, the Philippine Delegation strongly supported the inclusion of emissions avoidance in the report as a recognition of risk-based and outcomes-based approaches to curb GHG emissions with the use of best available non-GHG emitting technologies.
The Philippines also supported the inclusion of green and blue infrastructure, which help reduce risks from extreme weather events. #
World Water Day 2023: DENR calls for continued collaboration to address global water crisis
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has called on all stakeholders to continue to work together and scale up efforts to take urgent action to address the global water crisis.
The DENR issued the call during the World Water Day (WWD) Philippines Awards 2023 ceremony, which served as the highlight of the local celebration of WWD on March 22 under the theme, “Accelerating Change through Partnerships and Cooperation.”
“Now more than ever, we need to accelerate our efforts to address the water crisis. We need to act urgently, and we need to act now, in partnership and in cooperation with other stakeholders,” DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations-Luzon, Visayas and Environment Juan Miguel Cuna said in a keynote speech on behalf of DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga.
Loyzaga, together with Undersecretaries Analiza Rebuelta-Teh and Carlos Primo David, was in New York to attend the United Nations 2023 Water Conference from March 22 to 24. The conference was aimed at fostering greater discussion on water-related issues, including access to safe drinking water and sanitation, sustainable development, climate resilience, and international water cooperation.
During the conference, Loyzaga said the Philippines is ready to commit to global water sector resilience agenda that ensures reliable and equitable access to safe water, sanitation, improved health and gender equality. The country shall also foster knowledge, innovation and just partnerships in water governance through strengthened access to science-informed, equitable and sustainable financing and engagements with the private sector, academia, multilateral development banks, and other stakeholders in climate action.
In his keynote address at the WWD.PH Awards 2023, Cuna said it was important to build on past achievements on water conservation and management, and scale new heights.
“The government, the private sector, and civil society organizations have been working together to address the water crisis through innovative and sustainable solutions,” Cuna pointed out.
Cuna noted that the government has been implementing programs to promote integrated water resource management, improve water quality, and ensure water access for all. He said, the private sector has been playing a significant role in promoting water conservation and efficiency in their respective operations.
Moreover, Cuna said that communities across the country have been taking action to conserve water, such as implementing rainwater, harvesting, reforestation, and use of efficient irrigation systems.
Emphasizing this year’s WWD theme, Cuna stressed: “Accelerating change requires collaboration, innovation and commitment from all sectors of society. It requires collective effort to build a more resilient and sustainable water future for all.”
“We at the DENR have started to heavily embark on strengthening our partnerships with multisectoral stakeholders and we are glad to have thus far garnered positive response,” he added.
Meanwhile, 21 individuals and institutions were recognized at the WWD.PH Awards 2023 for their significant contribution to the protection and sustainable use of water. The annual event was presented by the DENR, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), and Maynilad Water Services Inc.
This year, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) handed over the Most Outstanding Irrigators Association Award to Makabilog Maynabo Tambo Irrigators Association, San Agustin San Luis Irrigators Association Inc., and Bayawan United Farmers Irrigators Association. These associations are NIA’s partners in irrigation development and management for the efficient delivery of water to farmlands to increase farm production.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority conferred the “Kampeon ng Lawa” Award to the University of the Philippines-Training Center for Applied Geodsey and Photogrammetry, the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, and the local government of Teresa, Rizal in recognition of their efforts in promoting the sustainable development of Laguna Lake.
The NWRB presented the Water Wise Award to Cebu Technological University, Holcim Phils., and West Cebu Industrial Park Developers Inc.
The DENR-Environmental Management Bureau Water Leadership Award went to Adam Inovejas of Project Blue PH for his initiative to design innovative boats made entirely out of recycled and sustainable materials.
The Local Water Utilities Administration “Huwarang Lingkod Tubig” Award was given to the Baguio Water District, Silay Water District, and Gen. Santos Water District.
Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc.’s “Agos ng Kinabukasan” Award went to San Pablo City Water District for advocating the protection and preservation of water sources and the environment, while Metro Pacific Water’s “Kampeon ng Kalikasan” Award was received by the Cagayan de Oro Water District.
Recipients of Maynilad’s Water Warrior Award for Advocacy Leadership were Caloocan City Vice Mayor Karina Teh, broadcaster Alvin Elchico, the Quezon City Climate Change Education Department, and the Million Trees Foundation.
Philippine Water Works Association’s “Alagad ng Tubig at Kalikasan” awardees were Go Share and the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council.
The DENR continues to carry out its mandate to conserve, manage, develop, and properly use the country’s environment and natural resources as it establishes the national geospatial database for natural resources, including water, which shall be a physical basis for the implementation of water-related social and infrastructure policies and programs. ###
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged Filipinos to observe “Earth Hour” on March 25 in support of the global efforts to protect the planet and fight climate change.
The DENR also enjoined its regional and field offices, bureaus and attached agencies nationwide to switch off lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. for this year’s event, which carries the theme “The Biggest Hour for the Earth.”
An initiative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour is a global movement held annually, encouraging individuals, communities and businesses to turn off non-essential electrical lights for one hour on the last Saturday of March, as a symbol of commitment to the planet.
The one-hour “lights off” action significantly lowers energy consumption, thus reducing carbon emission and harmful greenhouse gases (GHG), whose biggest source is electricity.
DENR regional offices have lined up other Earth Hour activities including posting infographics of the event, inviting high schools, universities and colleges to participate, and for netizens to take their photos while observing Earth Hour and to post these in the DENR’s regional Facebook pages with a short description of their experience.
Aside from these, the DENR urged Filipinos to support WWF’s invitation to go an extra mile and “give an hour for Earth” or to spend 60 minutes doing something or anything positive for Earth to raise awareness on the climate crisis.
These include watching documentary or educational films on environmental issues, such as the WWF Entangled Series of three-minute videos on biodiversity loss, deep seabed mining, planet plastic, nature-based solution, and other topics; listening to podcasts or talks of the WWF, British Broadcasting Corporation and TED Talks; and joining Earth Hour events near them.
The DENR also reminded the public to properly manage and take responsibility for their solid waste as it is also a source of GHG. Proper waste disposal and reducing, reusing and recycling will cut down waste and pollution from homes, schools, offices and the manufacturing sector.
The Philippines’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) has committed to a projected GHG emission reduction and avoidance of 75 percent for the period 2020 to 2030 for the agriculture, transport, energy, waste, industry and forestry sectors, of which the last three are sectors from the DENR.
The NDC is the country’s action plan to help achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit the rise in global temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In October 2022, DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga led the Philippine delegation to the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt where the Philippines was one of only two Asian countries that signed the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People.
The HAC aims to protect over 30 percent of land and ocean by 2030 through financial assistance from the public and private sectors for the management and implementation of programs on nature.
Under Loyzaga’s leadership, the DENR shall implement climate adaptation and mitigation consistent with the climate agenda of the Marcos administration.
For this year, the National Expenditure Program has allocated a total of P453.11 billion for the implementation of climate change programs and projects. ###
DENR turns over PPE donations, facilitates equipment assistance for oil spill-hit Oriental Mindoro
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) turned over more than 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) donations from San Miguel Corporation and Petron Corporation, and concurrently facilitated equipment assistance from the RU Foundry and Machine Shop Corporation (RUMSC) and the Ecological and Agriculture Development Foundation (AEDF) on Tuesday, March 21.
These initiatives are in support of the government’s cash-for-work (CFW) program for residents affected by the oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress.
DENR MT Princess Empress Oil Spill Task Force Commander Undersecretary Marilou Erni and Undersecretary Jonas Leones, together with DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Lormelyn Claudio and Environmental Management Bureau MIMAROPA Director Joe-Amil Salino, spearheaded the ceremonial turnover of the PPE to the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro led by Governor Humerlito “Bonz” Dolor.
The donated PPE includes masks and cartridges, gloves, and body suits to help ensure the safety and health of the locals engaged in the CFW program, which aims to expedite the spill containment and recovery while providing temporary employment to affected communities.
The PPE specifications are in compliance with the interim guidelines for oil spill response issued by the Department of Health.
“Aside from possible lung complications, contact with oil spill can cause itchy skin. That is why this [PPE] is a big help for us,” Governor Dolor stated on his Facebook Page.
The DENR has been coordinating with Dr. Rigoberto Advincula, former President of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering and now Professor at Case Western Reserve University, who facilitated the equipment assistance by RUMSC and EADF. The shredder and decorticator machine will be deployed for use of individuals engaged in CFW for their effective fabrication of provisional spill boom using locally available materials.
In a press conference before the turnover ceremony of PPE, Governor Dolor commended the proactive response and assistance of the DENR, including determining the exact location of the sunken vessel using bathymetric data.
“We are thankful that the possible location of the vessel generated by the BRP Hydrographer Ventura from DENR NAMRIA is the same location where the remotely operated vehicle found it,” he said.
The DENR, as a member of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, continues to strengthen its partnership with all of its stakeholders, including the private sector, to reinforce the national government’s integrated response and take lead in protecting marine ecosystems from the impacts of the oil spill incident. ###
PHILIPPINE COUNTRY STATEMENT ON UN 2023 WATER CONFERENCE
Attaining universal, adequate, and equitable access to safely managed water and sanitation services are at the core of inclusive and sustainable development. Integrated water resource management approaches that overcome barriers to water and sanitation access (SDG 6) and improved health (SDG 3) are, therefore, imperative. Moreover, risk-informed and transformative governance that increases access and affordability of safe drinking water and sanitation services must be sustained in order to advance health, livelihoods, and the dignity of all, while preserving ecosystem integrity for the benefit of generations to come.
Climate change has disrupted the world’s hydrological cycle. Extreme rainfall and changes in temperature amplify existing social vulnerabilities and threaten biodiversity. Today, more than ever, there is a critical need for nexus governance for climate and disaster resilience – one that pursues a strategic balance between supply and consumption of water for health, food, energy and environmental security.
The Philippines is moving decisively in this direction. Our President has directed the creation of the Water Resource Management Office under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to achieve water security by integrating the functions of all agencies with water-related mandates. The WRMO is a first in our country’s history and is aligned with new legislation creating an apex body for comprehensive water resource management.
We are adopting an all hazards and risk-informed integrated water resource management approach to inform national level plans and actions across sectors and scales. Sector-wide guidance for universal access to safe, sufficient, affordable, and sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene by 2030 has been completed and the harmonization of these plans for water supply, health, sewerage and sanitation and water quality are underway. Vertical integration to ensure alignment of local government water-related policies and actions with the Philippine Development Plan are being pursued.
We are establishing the national geospatial database for natural resources, including water, in order to achieve cross-cutting development goals, de-risk investments and improve water resource management down to the community level. It underpins our natural capital accounting program and establishes a physical basis for the design and implementation of water-related social and infrastructure policies and programs which aim to ensure that no ecosystem or community is left behind.
Our country ranks fourth among the countries in the world most affected by water-related disasters, approximately 20 typhoons entering the country each year, bringing torrential rain and flooding and waterborne diseases. Extreme rainfall events and prolonged periods of drought have impacted our water, food and energy supply. Between 2010 and 2019, damages incurred due to droughts, floods and storms amounted to $10.25 billion. Water stress and insecurity remain and disasters move people deeper into poverty. Climate vulnerable developing countries are faced with a similar crises.
Today, we stand ready to commit to global water sector resilience agenda that ensures reliable and equitable access to safe water, sanitation, improved health and gender equality. This requires that we address not only the physical risks through engineering solutions but the ecological, socioeconomic, and governance challenges we face, as well.
Hence, it is urged that the UN Water Agenda prioritize climate resilience through robust, equitable and sustainable “nature-positive” development pathways.
Further to this, is a call for deeper integration of the water agenda into key global agreements such as the SDGs, UN Framework Convention for Climate Change, Convention on Biodiversity and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction would render the water sector as a globally important entry point to scaling up commitments to adaptation finance for reliable and safe water supply and use. We likewise intend to introduce a draft resolution on WASH in health care facilities later this year.
The Philippines commits to foster knowledge, innovation and just partnerships in water governance. Access to science-informed, equitable and sustainable financing and engagements with the private sector, academia, multilateral development banks, and other stakeholders in climate action are being strengthened.
While recognizing the vital importance of traditional and local knowledge, the Philippines likewise advocates the transfer of knowledge through science, technology, engineering and innovation that addresses the water needs of developing countries while advancing global goals. In this light, we endorse increasing support for the Global Water Operator Program which addresses the vulnerabilities and capacity building needs of water and water sanitation service providers, especially in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.
The water sector has the opportunity to lead change and deliver transformative solutions in our quest for climate-resilient and sustainable development. Let us all unleash this potential today to ensure that no person, no community and no ecosystem is left behind.