PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 29 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has approved here Wednesday a landmark policy that would become the blueprint of the country’s action plan to combat climate change.
The President signed the National Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change, which is perhaps the first in Southeast Asia, around a month early than what is set by the Climate Change Act (Republic Act 9729) and while climate negotiators worldwide gear up for fresh rounds of talks in June to achieve a legally binding agreement to aggressively confront climate change and its impacts on the human race.
The 12-year National Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change was drafted by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) with the help of and in consultations with various stakeholders of the society. The CCC, chaired by the President, was created under R.A. 9729.
The National Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change was approved by President Arroyo before CCC Vice Chairman Secretary Heherson T. Alvarez and Commissioners Mary Ann Lucille Sering and Naderev Sano, Undersecretary Carlos Garcia VI, as well as members of its advisory board composed of Cabinet secretaries.
According to Alvarez, the Framework aims to turn the Philippines into a climate-resilient country through climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
It also envisions a country with “healthy, safe, prosperous and self-reliant communities, and thriving and productive ecosystems.”
“The Framework highlights the critical aspect of Climate Change adaptation, which will be applied to all levels of governance — from city to municipal down to the barangay level,” Alvarez said.
“The aspiration is to build the adaptive capacity of communities in the country, increase the resilience of our natural ecosystems to climate change, and optimize the country’s mitigation opportunities towards sustainable development,” Alvarez added.
The CCC noted that the Framework is formulated within the context of the country’s sustainable development goals and governance/institutional factors that affect the country’s ability to respond to climate change. It recognized that the changing climate conditions will have a myriad of impacts and underscore the vulnerabilities in all sectors of society and the economy.
The CCC said that the country’s adaptation to climate change will require resources and the cooperation of all sectors.
“Addressing climate change, therefore, moves beyond the environmental challenges and will have to be closely linked with economic targets and social sustainability,” the Framework mentioned.
The Framework provides a basis for the national program on climate change, defining Key Result Areas (KRAs) to be pursued in key climate-sensitive sectors in addressing the adverse effects of climate change both under adaptation and mitigation strategies.
It is based on the fundamental principles of sustainable development and treats mitigation as a function of adaptation, mindful of the vulnerability of key sectors that include energy.
The 38-page Framework said that increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, sea level rise, and extreme weather events form the backdrop upon which the Philippines endeavors to pursue its development goals. It pointed out that these factors affect key sectors such as ecosystems, food, water, human health, infrastructure, energy, and human society.
It likewise noted that the ability of the country to address such impacts and vulnerabilities of these sectors affect the facility by which sustainable development is pursued.
Sustainable development, on the other hand, greatly impinges on the capacity of the country to adapt to the impacts and address vulnerabilities to climate change, it added.
Thus, in order to achieve the KRAs, the Framework emphasized that it is important to ensure that cross-cutting strategies are likewise given attention. And as means of implementation, the Framework puts forward multi-stakeholder partnerships, financing, valuation, and policy planning and mainstreaming.
Alvarez said that with President Arroyo’s approval of the National Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change, the CCC is preparing to launch a nationwide information and education campaign to bring closer the issue of climate change to the people.
He said that the caravan across the country is seen to make possible the eventual formulation of the National Climate Change Action Plan. (PNA)