DENR ensures forest protection to fight climate change

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has vowed to protect the country's remaining forests as part of its commitments before the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to limit the world's rising temperature by various means.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Nov. 25, the DENR said it is committed to "remain at the forefront of forest protection" as DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu promised to support "the pledges and contributions made by the Philippines" during the COP26.

"The DENR will be at the frontlines of ensuring that the verdant forest covers will be replenished to ensure adequate carbon sequestration to meet the country’s contributions to sustain the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius," Cimatu said.

The Philippine delegation, led by Department of Finance Secretary and Climate Change Commission chair-designate Carlos Dominguez and DENR-Climate Change Service office's Albert Magalang, "made significant contributions to the international conference for climate change," the agency said.

It was in terms of financial and cooperative mechanisms, loss and damage as well as halting deforestation, among others, DENR added.

The agency also said it served as the Philippine lead negotiator on Article 6 or the Cooperative Implementation of the Paris Agreement.

It also contributed to the completion of its rule book that establishes the modalities, procedures and guidelines on how countries will exchange and transfer international mitigation outcomes through carbon credits.

In the recent COP26, DENR said the country was among the 141 countries that endorsed the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forest and Land Use.

Among actions stated in the declaration were: conserving forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerating their restoration, facilitating trade and development policies, and promoting sustainable development.

DENR said the country also launched a roadmap for financing green investments, which aims to encourage investments in businesses, technologies and infrastructure, and help make the economy more resilient to climate change impacts.

A total of 200 parties concluded the conference on Nov. 13 with an agreement to sustain the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius and abide by the pledges made during the Paris Agreement.

The parties also agreed to revisit the emissions targets in their Nationally Determined Contributions next year and strengthen the targets in preparation for 2022, according to DENR.

Recently, the Philippine office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) urged the government to immediately take concrete steps to address climate change.

The non-profit organization in a statement said the government must hastily put in place policies and make necessary executive decisions as the gathering "is not just a one-time event where world leaders make surprise announcements and flowery speeches."

WWF said that while "most Filipinos are already suffering from the climate crisis," it "doesn't mean the situation is hopeless."