Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Antonia Loyzaga called for a whole-of-society approach to accelerate the decarbonization of industries during the Nordic-Philippine Climate Executive Dialogue in Manila on Feb. 16.

Loyzaga pointed out that the country’s commitments in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and the Paris Agreement can only be achieved if all stakeholders work together by using nature-based solutions for carbon reduction as the primary strategy in achieving net-zero targets.

The Philippines pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2030 under the NDC, while it committed to help limit global warming to less than 2°C under the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Every fraction of a degree counts. And so, we must all work together to achieve what we must envision as our common goal for a safe and sustainable planet,” Loyzaga said.

She added: “We need to prioritize the opportunities identified in the Philippine Development Plan that has just recently been launched, including capacity development on sustainability; environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting; conduct of capacity assessments; developing biodiversity friendly enterprises and ecotourism sites; our investments in forestry; and an integration between sustainable land, coastal and marine planning.”

During the dialogue, Loyzaga highlighted some of the DENR’s current priorities in the sectors of energy, solid waste, transportation, mining, and urban resilience, and invited everyone to collaborate with the Department in achieving the country’s environmental goals.

On energy, she said the DENR is reviewing the environmental processes on all on-shore and off-shore solar, wind and power projects to facilitate more capital investments in the renewable energy sector, and speed up the country’s global standard competitiveness.

Loyzaga said the Department is also conducting an assessment of all waste-to-fuel and waste-to-energy technologies to address the country’s growing solid waste problem and move toward a circular economy.

The DENR also recently released the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Extended Producer Responsibility Act of 2022, which requires large companies to establish a mechanism for the proper management of plastic packaging waste. It also focuses on sustainable mobility, particularly in the shipping sector, which involves the transition to alternative sources of fuel and looking at the upskilling and reskilling of professional seafarers to make our workforce more competitive in a more digital and complex world.

Loyzaga also shared that the DENR believes that responsible and sustainable mining can be an effective economic driver towards sustainable development.

She said there is a need to stimulate the industry and push it towards a safe and sustainable practice called the mitigation hierarchy, which follows the steps of avoidance, minimization, restoration, and offsetting compensation for affected communities.

Loyzaga pointed out that resilience must be looked at through the lens of leadership, human development and infrastructure, economy, environment and human security.

The Nordic Embassies of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden expressed their commitment to support the various climate actions and strategies that the Philippines is working towards to address climate change. ###