[Press Release] Gov’t urged to fast-track access to climate change adaptation funds – Aksyon Klima

 January 16 — As the impeachment court resumes its trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona today, a civil society network appealed to the government to remain focused on implementing urgent policy measures that can help the country withstand global warming impacts.

“Climate chaos is the new normal and should not be forgotten in the middle of political debates. We can honor the memory of the typhoon and landslide victims by speeding up the country’s application for direct access to international climate change adaptation funds,” according to a statement from Aksyon Klima Pilipinas (AK), a national network of 40 civil society organizations working on climate change issues.

The network stressed that adaptation actions — such as alternative irrigation measures, anti-flooding initiatives, comprehensive local vulnerability assessments, local meteorological capacity- and capability-building training programs — could prevent further deaths and damage, even though they are expected to strain local government budgets.

“The country must have enough funds to protect itself from episodic extreme weather events. It must also be able to adapt to more frequent or longer dry seasons and increased rainfall. Slow-onset climate change impacts like these pose long-term economic threats to the country,” said Atty. Elpidio V. Peria, the new AK convenor and executive director of the General Santos-based Biodiversity, Innovation, Trade and Society (BITS) Policy Center.

Aksyon Klima also called on the Climate Change Commission to designate by the end of the month the Department of Finance as the country’s National Implementing Entity that will directly access resources from the United Nations-formed Adaptation Fund.

“There is an urgent need for the DOF to act as a central, if not the lead, agency in mustering national and international funds for early climate change adaptation action in the country,” said Red Constantino, leader of AK’s finance cluster and executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities.

The Adaptation Fund was established under the Kyoto Protocol, the global legally binding treaty requiring developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The fund is mainly financed with two percent of the Certified Emission Reduction issued for projects of the Clean Development Mechanism, as well as other sources.

Among the fund’s unique features is a modality that allows countries to directly access the funds without having to go through multilateral implementing entities such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Two direct access projects have already been funded — one for coastline protection in Senegal and another for anti-drought investments in small livestock farms in Uruguay.

AK asked the Aquino administration to submit its designated implementing entity before the end of the month so it can form part of the early queue of direct access applicants and at the same time contribute to the Adaptation Fund Board’s next meeting this March in Germany. The Fund’s board has already approved 17 projects and programs for funding to date, amounting to more than 108 million US dollars, or more than four billion pesos.

The network also renewed its calls for the immediate passage of the People’s Survival Fund Bill in the Lower House, especially in the aftermath of tropical storm “Sendong” (international name “Washi”)last December.

“The Senate has already done its part, having passed the PSF last September. The House must move to mobilize domestic climate finance with a higher sense of urgency,” said Constantino.

The Philippines ranked third in the United Nations University’s climate change vulnerability index released last October. The country also occupies the 10th spot among countries most affected by the impacts of extreme weather events in the last 20 years, based on the list released last November by the Global Climate Risk Index initiative. ###

Contact: Denise Fontanilla, Advocacy Officer
+63906.438.7229 | info@aksyonklima.com

PRESS RELEASE | January 15, 2012

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