Engaging governments and political parties to govern ‘green’

Published November 5, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat




Jose C. De Venecia Jr.
Jose C. De Venecia Jr.

We see our shared task as that of spreading awareness of the threat of climate change—and of generating preventive action against global warming. Awareness of climate change—and its cause by human activity—is certainly growing worldwide. But it is not growing fast enough to get people to demand immediate and decisive action from those who lead them.

We ourselves believe governments and political parties must deal with the threat of climate change and global warming with a greater—and more sustained—sense of urgency than they have done so far, because the stakes are higher than in any political or economic crisis of the moment.

We need to match with our efforts the dimensions and the gravity of the danger humankind faces.

Governments can make a difference

We know governments can make a difference—if only they focus on specific, practical aspects of the problem—as the three European states have focused on the degradation of the oceans they share; and the Communist Party of China has focused on the stifling smog in some of China’s great cities.

Getting Asian governments to do so, we have made one of ICAPP’s prime missions. We intend to focus the leaderships of ICAPP’s member parties in Asia on responding creatively—and decisively—to the challenge of Climate Change.

No substitute for the party

But organizational work that wins elections cannot take place without our so-called anonymous political party workers. And there is no substitute for the party organization in launching any national effort—and getting it done.

 Party organizations are also crucial in passing down policy decisions and passing up policy feedback from the constituencies.

Most important of all, parties are crucial to the all-important work of institutionalizing public policy—so that it outlasts the time in power of the charismatic leader who may have begun it.

Massive tree farming can grow our forest cover

Since deforestation—no less than the burning of fossil fuels—is a root cause of global warming, we should also begin to bind Nature’s wounds from generations of wanton logging.

Reforestation and tree farming—on the scale and intensity the planet needs—can become and must become an economic stimulus for all states, in crisis or not, that the World Bank, the IMF, and regional banks should champion.

Economic stimulus programs in Asia, the US, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Australian continent should include financial provisions for fighting climate change and planting tens of billions of trees worldwide, and not just providing tens of billions of dollars to save the banks in the US, Europe, and Asia from their mountains of bad loans that threaten their bankruptcy.

We the political parties must mobilize massive tree planting to reforest our bald denuded mountains, to plant tens of billions of trees because trees will help solve our drinking water problem, our industrial water and large-scale irrigation water needs, and help solve as well our serious flood-control problems.

Employ tens of millions

The massive worldwide planting of trees will employ tens of millions of our young men and young women who will plant the trees, take care of the trees, harvest the trees, process the trees into plywood and timber for mass housing, pulp, and paper, etc., replanting of the trees all over again in a continuing cycle, as they do with the evergreen tree plantations of New Zealand, Canada, Finland, and the Scandinavian countries with great commercial profits.

The Scandinavians have been farming trees for decades, as a sector of the pulp and paper industry. My country—whose forest cover was devastated by export logging in the 1950s—has ironically become one of the tree-farming pioneers today, whose still modest experience other developing countries could look into.

Yes, massive commercial tree planting can be a most profitable enterprise. It should be one of the principal objectives of economic or financial stimulus launched by governments: to help save the economy and help save our planet and humankind.

Governments and political parties to govern ‘green’

We agree that environmental degradation is the clear and present danger that threatens our planet Earth.

We agree we have no more time to lose; and we agree every one of us has a job to do in the common effort we must undertake to preserve the beauty of the land and the purity of the surrounding air in cities.

As representatives of the Asian political parties, our job is to deliberate and enact public policy that mitigates, deters, and stops climate change in every Asian state.

One of our basic aims is precisely to encourage Asian governments and political parties to govern green—to ensure the interests of the environment are represented in public policy decisions in every Asian state.

We in ICAPP must work cooperatively with the United Nations system and the global community on the issues of climate change.

 We must help political decision-makers translate people’s needs, wants and hopes about climate change and protection of the environment into effective public policy.

Our goal is to establish measures against environmental degradation as norms in the political cultures of all our member countries.

This Special Conference in the Republic of Korea creates the opportunity for all of us to sit down and reason together to sustain our common dream to protect and nurture our Planet Earth and to try to prolong for always the lives of all the peoples of the world.

Yes, today and in all the days to come.