25 November 2020, DHAKA — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, and House Committee on Climate Change Chair Edgar Chatto last night met virtually with fellow lawmakers from the 48-member-nation Climate Vulnerable Forum to call for more ambitious climate action globally.
Legislators from the Philippines and Bangladesh will submit motions in the coming days calling on all countries to deliver their enhanced national climate action targets (known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs) to the UN climate convention before midnight on 31 December, the first deadline for all countries to increase ambition since the Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015.
“We clearly recognize that the best available science mandates us to build the resilience of our communities in order to face the worsening impacts of climate change, as well as pursue green economic development,” said Senator Sotto, who mentioned the country’s climate change, renewable energy, clean air, and green jobs laws. “Enabling our people to survive and prosper in this era of climate change and pandemics is a moral imperative. We may be vulnerable, our nations may be at most risk, but together we can be a force that can drive the global transformation that we seek.”
Bohol’s First District Representative, Edgar Chatto, said “Our Department of Energy’s recent announcement on the moratorium on new coal sends a decisive signal to domestic and foreign investors financing renewable energy. The House Committee on Climate Change, under my leadership, is in full support of this promotion of sustainable and renewable energy.”
CVF Ambassador for Parliaments, former senator and currently Deputy Speaker of the House Loren Legarda said she will submit a motion calling for “the delivery as foreseen under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement of enhanced and updated NDCs by midnight of 31 December 2020”. The motion goes on to note the Climate Vulnerable Forum’s “Midnight Survival Deadline for the Climate” initiative, and highlights “the extent to which the survival of the most vulnerable is tied to compliance with the Paris Agreement.”
Speaker Velasco said the Philippine NDC will show “the world our resolve to pursue low carbon development, as well as the support we need from developed countries in terms of climate finance, capacity building, and technology transfer in the context of climate justice and in accordance with the Paris Agreement.”
The Paris Agreement calls all signatory countries to submit stronger climate targets, or NDCs, every five years. The NDCs state what each country will do at a national level to reduce emissions, enhance their resilience to climate threats, and help finance climate action.
To date, over three quarters of the world’s countries have formally committed to strengthen their NDCs by the year-end. However, only 17 countries have actually submitted their NDCs to the United Nations, and only 13 of those NDCs contained improved climate targets. Officials have said the Philippines is working to submit a revised NDC.
Sharing the resolve of the House of Representatives, Speaker Velasco said, “As parliamentarians of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries, we need to set enabling policies that will accelerate our transition to low carbon and climate-resilient economies notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic. [We need] to address gaps in climate action and the implementation of our climate change laws and policies.”
“We are your people, our local emergencies are your global emergencies. The increasingly violent typhoons, hurricanes, and floods caused by climate change are becoming the new normal all over the world and the Philippines has been the unfortunate receiving end of the worst of them,” Velasco added.
According to Legarda, “Just from October to this month, the Philippines was battered in succession by typhoons Ofel, Saudel, Molave, super typhoon Goni, tropical storm Atsani, Etau, and typhoon Vamco. In light of these intensifying impacts of the climate crisis, we are required to do much more. If countries historically responsible for the climate crisis won’t act with urgency, we in the developing world must act in concert to compel them to take action. Vulnerable country parliaments play a crucial role in making this happen.” Legarda proposed the creation of a CVF Parliaments League in the CVF global meet, a suggestion that was embraced by parliamentarians in the event.
Legarda’s motion will call on the national government to “fast-track the development of a national Climate Prosperity Plan to serve as a country-led strategic investment platform and tool to mobilize financing for renewable energy and climate resilience projects to enable job growth, regional economic growth, and to enhance protection of highly climate vulnerable communities of the Philippines.”
The CVF is monitoring the progress of countries’ NDCs through an online Climate Survival Leadership Barometer: https://thecvf.org/midnight-climate-survival.
ABOUT THE CLIMATE VULNERABLE FORUM (CVF)
The CVF is an international partnership of 48 developing nations most threatened by the global climate emergency. The CVF member states, other than the Philippines, are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Kiribati, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Palau, Palestine (as UN non-member observer state), Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Senegal, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Yemen.
PHOTO: Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and GCA Board Chair; Martin Chugong, IPU Secretary-General; Loren Legarda CVF Thematic Ambassador for Paliaments and Deputy Speaker of the Philipines; Vicente Sotto III, President of Senate of the Philippines; Lord Allan Velasco, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines; Edgardo Chatto, Committee Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change of the Philippines (CVF)