PH calls for green funding benefits for developing countries

Published November 14, 2021, 10:28 AM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The Philippine environment department has led other Asian countries in the second climate fund replenishment talks as they sought funding support for developing countries to meet the 2030 international environmental goals.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Roy Cimatu said fund replenishments for the 8th Global Environment Facility (GEF-8) is important in a bid to finance projects for intensified environment protection against COVID-19 pandemic and climate-related calamities.

GEF was created in October 1991 to enable developing countries to address priority environmental concerns, which include deforestation, desertification, climate change, biodiversity loss and ozone depletion.

“There is a need to mobilize more resources… GEF-8 is an opportunity that the countries should tap for this,” Cimatu said in a statement Saturday, Nov. 13.

DENR Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh represented the Asian nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Syria and Yemen during the global meeting held virtually on September 29 to October 1.

“The meeting comes at a crucial time as the world is in the COVID-19 crisis recovery stage,” added Teh, who served as the observer for GEF Asia and GEF Operational Focal Point for the Philippines.

Teh said the Asian countries are united in their call to bring to the attention of GEF their support for the vulnerability index as a factor in the prioritization of GEF funding of projects.

The vulnerability index under the System for Transparent Allocation of Resources is important in determining the real economic issues on the ground, she said.

She pointed out that there is a need for increased support for these nations.

Other recommendations include the intensified support for countries in their blue (ocean) and green (forestry) recoveries with the pandemic recovery factored in the GEF strategy.

Teh said the Philippines is looking forward to sustained funding for its environmental projects in the next GEF four-year cycle, from July 2022 to June 2026.

GEF-8 is expected to reach US$6.5 billion given an increase in allocation for Non-Grant Instruments (NGI) and Small Grants Program (SGP). The allocation is meant to support the private sector and civil society participation in NGI and SGP.

The biggest chunk will be allocated for biodiversity (34 percent), followed by climate change (15 percent), chemicals and wastes (14 percent), international waters (12 percent), and land degradation (11 percent).