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US envoy underscores USA-PHL partnerships on environment, climate change

By Judy Flores Partlow

DUMAGUETE CITY, Sept. 18 (PNA) -– United States Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg highlighted in a seminar the importance of US–Philippines partnerships on building resilient communities and adopting strategic and sustainable mitigating measures in response to global climate change and environmental concerns.

Goldberg addressed 20 broadcast and print journalists at the opening of the two-day 3rd Regional Media Seminar early this week in the national capital with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manila organizing the activity.

In welcoming the conference participants, Goldberg explained that the event aimed to focus on the efforts of the U.S. agencies, through the U.S. Embassy in Manila, to support efforts of the Philippines government in addressing concerns and issues on the protection and conservation of the environment.

According to him, not too many in the public sector were aware of the U.S. federal government’s projects and programs being undertaken with the Philippine government geared towards building climate change-resilient communities, adopting mitigating measures against the impact of natural disasters through natural resources management and disaster risk reduction.

He disclosed that the U.S. has about 1-billion US dollars worth of funding for various projects in the Philippines over a period of five years, currently halfway through it already, via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for its traditional programs as well as humanitarian assistance such as that for typhoon victims.

Bio-diversity and other environmental issues are just as equally important, he added.

Also, Goldberg cited the Millennium Challenge Corporation project worth some U.S. 250 million dollars over a five year period as well which includes the building of a road in the typhoon-stricken Samar.

Another undertaking which the U.S. envoy mentioned during his opening message at the regional media seminar was the U.S. 200 million dollars for the Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue to help enhance revenue collections and “cut down any possibility of corruption.

Furthermore, other programs in collaboration with the Philippines government include funding in the military and security area as well as activities carried out by the International Narcotics and Law Bureau of the U.S. Department of State.

A U.S. government framework dubbed “Partnership for Growth” also aims to provide assistance and support the Philippines for sustainable inclusive growth to address poverty alleviation, more jobs, sustainable inclusive growth and economic development, Goldberg pointed out.

Ambassador Goldberg also emphasized that tackling environment-related concerns and issues have to be given priority most especially as the Philippines is “vulnerable” to storms as well as threats to bio-diversity and tourism as a result of climate change.

He specifically mentioned problems of water pollution and traffic particularly in Metro Manila.

Corollary to traffic congestion in the nation’s capital, Ambassador Goldberg accentuated a global unification to cut down on carbon emissions, which he described as a long term solution to environment problems.

Goldberg disclosed the U.S. is rallying for more support to the upcoming climate change meeting in Paris in 2015 for the increased reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, more particularly by large emitters such as China and India.

According to him, the United States has already committed to reduce by 20 percent its carbon emissions in the coming years.

Global solutions are needed to address the current environmental issues and even small countries that are vulnerable, such as the Philippines, can contribute to attaining a universal goal of a cleaner environment, he concluded. (PNA)


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