In a historic first, the Philippines – through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and in collaboration with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – hosted the 18th Meeting of the Executive Committee (ExeCom) of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage last February 28 in Makati City.

Since its establishment during the 19th Conference of Parties (COP) to UNFCCC in Warsaw, Poland in November 2013, the WIM ExeCom presented a new five-year rolling work plan, while its technical expert group and task force provided updates that will assist developing countries in averting, minimizing, and addressing loss and damage.

It was the ExeCom’s first ever meeting outside of Bonn, Germany, and its first assembly since the breakthrough decision relating to funding arrangements to loss and damage associated with the effects of climate change was adopted at COP27 in November 2022.

“This meeting is an opportunity, but it is most importantly a responsibility,” DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga, who also serves as the designated representative of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to the Climate Change Commission, said in her opening remarks.

“This is also a responsibility to fully take into account the urgent needs of those with the least resources and those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” Loyzaga added.

Representatives from the WIM ExeCom co-chairs Philippines and Denmark; WIM committee members from Bangladesh, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Pakistan, Tunisia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Russian Federation, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States of America, among others; scientific organizations, civil society, and development partners gathered to discuss decisions on funding and establish the Santiago Network, which aims to connect developing countries with providers of technical assistance, knowledge and resources.

Loyzaga said the Philippines, which is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts, strongly supports these initiatives to produce an action-oriented and results-focused rolling work plan for the planet.

“Hosting this ExeCom meeting affirms the Philippines’ strong commitment and leadership to advance global action on loss and damage based on available science,” Loyzaga said.

According to the DENR Secretary, the Philippine position is consistent with the Glasgow Climate Pact, where the country pushed for the urgent operationalization of the Santiago Network that is demand-driven, concrete, measurable, and aligned with the sustainable development priorities of climate vulnerable communities.

At the same time, Loyzaga urged WIM members and stakeholders to focus on evidence-informed and demand-driven preventive actions that would avoid the increasing costs of climate events in terms of lives lost, illnesses, and damage to properties and ecosystems.

Loyzaga was confident that the meeting would “provide and establish clear direction on actions to address issues of loss and damage, and move us forward towards our vision through a spirit of global solidarity and with a renewed commitment to action.”##