By Leonel Abasola

Environment Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga (DENR photo)

MANILA – The Philippine delegation to the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC-COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates highlighted the country’s qualifications to host the Board of Loss and Damage Fund.

Environment Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said the Philippines is most qualified to host the Board of Loss and Damage Fund for not only being a living testament to the effects of climate change, but also with its abiding interest in promoting equitable and just rules in the governance of the global commons, according to a news release of the Presidential Communications Office on Sunday.

“Our national footprint in the history of negotiations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement, as well the High Seas or BBNJ (Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction) Agreement bears witness to our abiding interest in promoting equitable and just rules in the governance of the global commons,” Loyzaga said in her national statement on Saturday.

“Our commitment to multilateralism, strengthened international cooperation and global solidarity remains steadfast, recognizing that no single country can tackle the complexities of climate change alone,” she added.

Delegates in the Dubai COP28 agreed on the operationalization of a fund that would help compensate vulnerable countries coping with loss and damage caused by climate change, a major breakthrough in this year’s UN climate conference.

Loyzaga also emphasized that the Philippine delegation continues to champion the cause of climate justice by upholding the principles of equity, common but differentiated responsibility, and by ensuring urgent and responsive means of implementation in terms of capacity building, tech transfer and financing to developing countries.

She added the Philippines seeks to advance the values of its biodiversity and oceans as the source of nature-based solutions to climate crisis and to serve as the foundation for inclusive and resilient development.

“In our country, we have taken concrete actions by implementing policies and initiatives to reduce emissions by catalyzing investments in our rich sources of renewable energy, enhancing resilience, advancing right-skilling and social protection, especially for the most vulnerable, to achieve a just transition, and mainstreaming climate considerations into our development plans and budgets,” Loyzaga said.

“We are right now in the final stages of completing our NAP (National Adaptation Plan) and NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) Implementation Plan as our guides to investing in secure and sustainable future. We have also actively engaged in advancing climate action, disaster risk reduction and resilience-building efforts across the Asia-Pacific region and with ASEAN,” she added.

Before concluding her statement, Loyzaga reiterated the Philippines’ bid to host the Board of Loss and Damage Fund, on top of a seat in the inaugural Board of the Fund.

Hosting the Fund in the Philippines will showcase global commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that the voices and experiences of the most affected countries are heard and considered in shaping the most urgent of global climate policies, she said.

“We are already host to UN entities, international and regional organizations, providing us the institutional capacity, expertise and partnerships to ensure the successful hosting of the Board. And we stand ready to offer our knowledge grounded in our long history and culture of human resilience,” Loyzaga said.

Loyzaga urged world leaders to start moving forward with courage, unity and determination towards a more resilient, equitable, sustainable, and prosperous global community as she asked them to set aside differences for the sake of the “planet and all peoples.”

She said a sustainable and resilient future for the generations to come can only be secured through collective actions. (PND/PNA)