Climate change action plan approved

Posted on November 23, 2011

PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. C. Aquino III has approved a comprehensive plan to address the impact of climate change that will be submitted to a United Nations forum by the end of the month in a bid to access global aid, an official said yesterday.

Climate Change Commission Vice-Chairman Mary Ann Lucille L. Sering announced that the President had approved the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) yesterday.

“The President has signed the very first plan of the government to address climate change... He wanted to see how these details can be operationalized as soon as possible,” she told reporters in Malacañang.

The plan covers 18 years, she noted, so that it can last beyond the administration and will be reviewed every six years.

The initial phase will be piloted next year in 20 poorest areas, Ms. Sering said, but the President wanted the coverage expanded from the proposed 10 Mindanao provinces in the eastern seaboard that are prone to natural disasters.

Lead agencies will be the departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Agriculture, Public Works and Highways and Health.

“We’re pushing for convergence of initiatives... We’re pushing for vulnerability assessment...,” said Ms. Sering.

The NCCAP’s priorities include water governance, improvement of fish yield and administrative changes in the Laguna Lake Development Authority, better implementation of the Solid Waste Act, and resettlement programs in major cities, she said.

Policies include the establishment of a single water governing body; reforestation program; and other climate change adaptation practices in the agriculture, health, infrastructure and social services sectors in the Philippine Development Plan.

Ms. Sering said the NCCAP will be submitted to the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa on Nov. 28-Dec. 9 in a bid to tap the Adaptation Fund and the proposed Green Climate Fund.

“Because of the signing of the plan, we can already submit that proposal to the Adaptation Fund while we continue to engage in more discussion internationally in the creation of a Green Climate Fund over and above the Adaptation Fund,” said Ms. Sering.

Proposals to be submitted to the UNFCCC will enable the Philippines to access “at least $10 million from the Adaptation Fund,” she added.

The amount may be approved in six months, and will be directly accessed through the UNFCCC, she added. “It will be managed by the Department of Finance in consultation and coordination with other agencies.”

The Adaptation Fund was established to finance projects and programs in developing countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement signed by 191 countries that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to an average of 5% against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

It is financed by country donations, through the Clean Development Mechanism of the UNFCCC.

“Because we have this plan and probably we are one of the first to come up with a plan, we will now have an idea, not just in percentage, but on actual cost. Our chances are better than the others because we are ready to submit,” said Ms. Sering. -- Johanna Paola D. Poblete