What soft landing?

by Angelo Kairos Dela Cruz

I wrote this while waiting for my Cebu flight’s boarding schedule to be announced by the airline staff last Tuesday, December 18. I didn’t imagine that I would still be travelling for work this close to Christmas.

I am one of the very few people blessed to be part of an organization that believes in “soft landings” to prepare for a better takeoff next year. However, there have been developments in the past few months alone that would make skipping a soft landing actually worth it.

My musings are, of course, within the realm of climate finance, particularly in the rare moments that a not-so-boring light shines on it. I try to write them down, some are on the list below; more are for me to enjoy with my kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs.

  1. The Paris Agreement is still alive, and we live to fight another day. The 24th Conference of Parties in Katowice, Poland finished with the best politically feasible result at this point. Not ideal by any account, especially on climate finance accounting. This development could give vulnerable parties such as Philippines the needed push and incentive to deliver its fair share of the burden by transforming its development to a low-carbon and more sustainable one. With the right direction, Philippines can transform this crisis into massive opportunities. Green jobs from renewable energy investments, as well as more secured food supply chains through climate smart agriculture, are just two of the many economic benefits that the Philippines can reap while thriving in the new climate normal. 
  2. National support systems to climate finance accountability are taking shape. Climate finance accountability work in the country is taking a huge leap forward with a new partnership between ICSC and Climate Change Commission to drum up support for the revitalization of a multi-sectoral climate finance tracking and accountability. This could not have come at a more opportune moment because reports from the country’s primary source of climate finance information, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), already reflects crucial information necessary to deduce where are we right now in terms of holding developed counties to account for their reported contributions. The Philippines has more than USD 5 billion worth of climate-tagged funds, and the government is finally taking the helm by asking the critical questions: Where are the funds going? How much is actually being spent? Does our use of available finance contribute to the realization of our priorities?   
  3. Local governments are taking the lead. Our local government partners are exceeding our expectations in imbibing the value of inclusive, local-level planning as a trigger to the direct access modality of climate funds. I cannot express how fortunate we are in getting the chance to work with some of the best LGUs across the country. Working with localities and seeing them succeed is a clear validation that our work is paying off. Empowered communities would need the voice of local champions and I am grateful and honored to accompany them in their respective journey towards resiliency-building. Recently, we celebrated a small feat of powering up a sea warden guard house in Guiuan, Eastern Samar through our RE-Charge Pilipinas team. It seems like a small project, but the ripples it created go far beyond what we have invested. We witnessed how the sea wardens felt empowered the moment the first solar-powered radio call blasted from the floating guard house, which would be their command base of operations.   

Going back to soft landings and how I would probably miss it this year—who cares? It is what it is, and what it has become is something that should be restlessly sustained. What it has become is something beautiful that would make you forget about soft landings.