By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Civil society groups on Thursday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to walk the talk as he challenged the international community to take “radical” action on the issue of climate change.
Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, a network of civil society groups working for a robust climate policy for the country, took up President Duterte’s challenge of radical action but asked Malacañang to also practice what they preach.
Following the President’s statements last Friday in Tokyo lambasting the lack of progress in the United Nations climate negotiations, Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced on Wednesday that he was “rejecting all official participation in climate change conferences requiring air travel.”
“We echo the frustration expressed by President Duterte and Secretary Locsin on the lack of progress in the UN climate talks given that the Philippines are in the frontlines of the climate crisis. Report after report has illustrated the wide gap between current pledges and the actual scale of action required to give our country a fighting chance to survive and thrive,” Francis dela Cruz, convener of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, said.
“We take it that Secretary Locsin is also referring to our own climate resilient and low carbon development when he called for radical action. We take it as a sign that government is ready to realize more initiatives on adaptation, renewable energy, sustainable transport, and solid waste management,” he added.
“Our own government must walk the talk and in the process achieve economic growth by aligning our development plans to not only adapt to the creeping impacts of climate change but also to build and sustain cleaner and healthier communities. We stand ready to assist our government officials in ensuring that strong positions are not only conveyed in the UN climate talks but are also implemented at home,” he also said.
The United Nations-led (UN) Climate Change Conference is a yearly event held in the framework of the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC). It serves as a formal meeting of the UNFCCC parties, which include the Philippines, to assess the progress in dealing with climate change.
It is usually held every November or December.
Meanwhile, this September, UN Secretary-General António Guterres is convening a summit in New York to meet the urgent need to address climate change and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
It is an agreement within the UNFCCC, dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, signed in 2016.