The Philippine delegation called for urgent and bolder climate action while unveiling its own needs and priorities at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change happening in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from November 6 to 18.

Upon returning to Manila last weekend, Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga laid out the strategic positions that the Philippine delegation asserted on the first week of meetings and negotiations at the climate conference.

She revealed that the delegation proposed to advance positions in particular work streams of the global discussion that would significantly boost the country’s specific needs and priorities, as well as the need for external support in the form of technology, transfer, capacity-building and financial support.

The work streams were divided into four categories: loss and damage; adaptation; climate finance; and the inclusion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions avoidance in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

The Philippines pushed for the adoption of a precise definition of “loss and damage” to include impacts from extreme climate event and slow onset change, to cover economic and non-economic losses, and to establish a mechanism that would fund and deliver technical support to help countries manage loss and damage.

It also expressed its full support for an initiative to formulate a system of predictable financial support, including an insurance scheme to provide financial resources to affected countries.

The country also agreed to operationalize and fund the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage, which aims to provide developing countries with technical assistance.

Stressing that adaptation is an urgent priority for the Philippines, Loyzaga said the country’s delegation called for timely and ambitious delivery of Annex I countries on the means of implementation of finance, technology, and capacity building.

The Philippines also reiterated the urgency and indispensability to fast-track negotiations on adaptation, including National Adaptation Plans and Global Goal on Adaptation.

Finance also plays a huge role in a concrete climate action.

At COP27, the Philippine delegation reported that earthquakes and typhoons cause an average US$3.5 billion per year, which is over 1.0 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, in direct losses to public and private assets. In the next 50 years, it could be estimated that this will exceed to US$33 billion.

The delegation insisted that climate finance should be complemented by viable and effective technology transfer and country-specific capacity building, which must be mobilized towards concrete projects, programs and initiatives.

The Philippines also asserted the need for developed Parties to be transparent in reporting their approaches and strategies for scaling up climate finance.

Lastly, the country advocated for the inclusion of GHG emission avoidance in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement to operationalize claims of developing countries to the remaining safe carbon budget.

Appropriate non-market approaches, focused on climate policy, such as fiscal measures, progressive phasing out of subsidies for fossil fuels, promoting renewable energies, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, are some of the things that the Philippine delegation supported as well.

The Philippines believes that addressing these are crucial pillars of climate action and is a matter of upholding basic human rights to secure a safer future for everyone.

Loyzaga, who heads the Philippine Delegation, expressed confidence and trust in the expertise of Philippine Ambassador to Egypt Ezzedin Tago and the members of the Delegation to capably negotiate, put forward, and collaborate with other governments towards achieving the goals of the Philippine climate agenda in the ongoing climate conference.

In a historical first and with the inputs of the Philippine Delegation, the text on the institutional arrangements to operationalize the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage to provide technical assistance, knowledge, and resources to developing countries has been agreed by all Parties at COP27. Included in the text are mentions of human rights, indigenous people, and impacts to communities. One of the subsequent steps would be establishing an operating entity such as a fund or a facility to wholly address loss and damage.

Secretary Loyzaga returned to the Philippines to perform principal functions at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), including addressing the Senate at the deliberation of the DENR budget. ###