FLOODED communities and farmlands when the Ilog-Hilabangan River in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental overflows. — DPWH

THE GOVERNMENT of Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. wants to replenish the climate fund for local governments with the help of multilateral financing institutions, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said on Tuesday.

“I think the idea is maybe really to replenish that fund from donors,” he told a news briefing on the sidelines of the United Nations climate conference in Dubai, based on a Palace statement. “There are some possible donors that we’ve talked to.”

Mr. Diokno said the P1-billion fund, which was institutionalized through a 2012 law that amended the Climate Change Act of 2009, “has not moved for a long time.”

The People’s Survival Fund Board, which he heads, recently approved P539 million worth of new climate adaptation projects. Projects that are typically supported by the fund include irrigation infrastructure, early warning and drainage systems and reforestation programs.

Mr. Diokno is in Dubai for the global climate conference or COP28, which started on Nov. 30 and will run until Dec. 12.

Delegates at the climate conference last week adopted a loss and damage fund, as several countries pledged millions of dollars to help developing nations cope with the climate crisis.

The World Bank will only have a temporary oversight over the fund, amid questions of its connections to the United States, which is among the world’s largest climate polluters.

The US has faced a backlash for contributing only $17.5 million to the fund, an amount described by many as “embarrassing” considering the size of its economy. It’s less than a fifth of the United Arab Emirates’ contribution and over a dozen times less than the European Union’s. 

Meanwhile the presidential palace said Canada would support the Philippines’ climate action projects until 2026 through its $5.3-billion international climate finance.

“The Philippine government and the United Nations Development Program are working in collaboration with Canada to reduce the climate finance gap through nature-based solution projects to be funded under a $5.3-billion climate finance commitment,” the Presidential Communications Office said in a separate statement.

It said Canada would boost its support for the Philippines in biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience with consideration for gender equality, citing Global Affairs Canada Climate Finance Executive Director Andrew Hurst.

Canada would continue to engage the Philippines both in climate finance and bilateral assistance program, it added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza