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Spanish envoy hails PHL’s leadership in Asia-Pacific vs climate change

By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 28 – Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Domecq has expressed elation over the Philippines’ leadership in acting against climate change in its being considered as role model in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of governance for climate change at central and local levels.

In a press statement released here by the local office of the Agencia Española de Cooperacion International Para El Desarrollo (AECID), Domecq said “I want to take this opportunity to praise the Government of the Philippines for its commitment to reform institutions, policies, strategies and legislation to better cope with climate change”.

AECID is the Spanish International Cooperation Agency for Development working in the Philippines.

“The inclusion of Climate Change in the Philippine Development Plan is a good proof of the relevance attached to the issue and I congratulate the government also for the recent approval of the National Action Plan on Climate Change,” Domecq said.

It is a landmark decision worth celebrating that further enhances to government’s commitment to address the threats posed by this climate phenomenon, he stressed.

“Spain has supported and wishes to continue upholding this endeavor of the Philippines, a strategic partner for Spain and a priority country for our development cooperation. Climate change is a top priority of Spain which over the past decade has significantly improved its environmental policies,” Domecq said.

Its action lines encompass a wide range of sectors such as transports, waste managemnrt, conostuction, tourism, energy, forestry and innovation. In transports, Spain has given preference to railways over other more polluting means and approved taxes for polluting vehicles, he said.

In energy, Domecq said Spain has decided to invest heavily in the development of renewable energies, a approach that enabled a thriving industry to be developed in the country, founded on technological innovation and the use of the abundant homegrown and clean energy sources.

“The best example of its success is that, to date, Spain is the largest solar thermal electric producer in Europe and the second largest in the world; second largest wind energy capacity in Europe and the fourth largest worldwide and; the second greatest photovoltaic capacity in both Europe and the world,” he said.

In this respect, he added, Spain looks forward to deepen its cooperation with the Philippines by sharing lessons learnt and best practices as well as its related sectors such as renewable energies, energy efficiency, waste management, water governance and health, among others.

There are also further possibilities to tap into the still unused money allocated to the Philippines in the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) for projects to be defined, he said.

“Spain and the Philippines are already partners in this common challenge as the former supports the efforts of the latter’s government to effectively develop coping mechanisms for Climate Change through the Joint Spain-Philippines-UN program titled ‘Enhancing Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change 2008-2011being financed under Spain’s Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund and the newly-opened Climate Change Academy is one of its outputs ,” Domecq said.

Formally put into operations during the inauguration rites graced by President Benigno Aquino III last Friday, the Academy, housed in a two-storey building inside the main campus at the Bicol University (BU) here and established through the initiative of Albay Governor Joey Salceda would serve as an international institution of learning towards climate change adaptation.

This joint program, he said intends to enhance tools and systems enabling appropriate planning and implementation of climate change adaptation, to generate precise information on technological adaptation and to provide sustainable development options useful for addressing the impacts of climate change at local level. “We welcome the evaluation of its impact and expect its sustainability,” he said.

The Philippines has been an advocate of the idea that climate change is truly everyone’s problem and everybody is part of the solution, introducing a very much participatory and transparent approach in which the academe and the civil society are key actors in national strategies and plans.

“We share the idea. A broad range of adaptation options and knowledge are already in place or are being tested within the country,” he further added. (PNA)

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