A CALL TO ACTION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE EMERGENCY BY THE FOUNDATION FOR THE PHILIPPINE ENVIRONMENT AND ITS PARTNER INSTITUTIONSPosted on November 3, 2020
We, the Foundation for the Philippine Environment and 109 individuals from 63 civil society organizations, indigenous people’s organizations, and academic institutions, recognize the urgent need for national and local governments, business, civil society, academe, and all other sectors, to make a concerted, purposive, and sustained response to the climate emergency that we all face.
We recognize the need to act fast, as time is not on our side. Today, many of our fellow Filipinos, especially the farmers and fisherfolk, are reeling from the negative impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events such as prolonged droughts, which have devastated their production areas, and drastically reduced the volume of their crops and catch. In a few months’ time, the wet season will bring in intensified storms and typhoons, and put settlements at risk of flooding and landslides. Terrestrial and marine biodiversity have been decimated, with several species at risk of extinction. The rising sea level threatens to submerge coastal towns and cities, and displace millions of people.
We cannot just be idle and apathetic, and leave to developed countries the responsibility of addressing this emergency. While they have undoubtedly contributed more to climate change, we and the other developing countries are the ones suffering from the adverse impacts. The cost of mitigation and adaptation is estimated to be more than USD 4 billion. Given this, we have to pool and leverage resources to implement initiatives designed to realize the target of keeping the rise in atmospheric temperature within 1.5 degrees Celsius.
We support all calls for climate action, climate solidarity and justice, climate cooperation, and financial and technical solidarity. We share the position of the National Panel of Technical Experts of the Climate Change Commission to have the national government gather and analyze data on natural hazards, level and extent of exposure, and inherent vulnerabilities; and produce a baseline climate risk assessment at a city or municipal scale and make it available to the public.
We call on the Climate Change Commission to hasten in capacitating the local governments and CSOs in accessing the People’s Survival Fund. We reiterate the need for the national government to set realistic and quantifiable mitigation and adaptation measures to be undertaken by public and private institutions.
We laud the House of Representatives for Resolution 724, which encourages the implementation of the National Climate Risk Management Framework for national government agencies and local governments to produce baseline studies and conduct climate risk assessments that consider future climate impacts and scenarios with due regard to social safeguards, and urgently mobilize and effectively implement existing laws on environmental protection, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction and management in the country.
We call for greater commitment and involvement from the business sector. Climate emergency must be mainstreamed in their value chain, corporate social responsibility, and overall business operations. We urge them to support community-based enterprises that adopt and promote sustainable resource management practices; and fully comply with all environmental laws of the country.
We challenge the academe, the science community, and the media to work hand in hand in raising the consciousness of the general public on climate emergency. We need to collaborate and innovate so that we reach all sectors, particularly the vulnerable and marginalized. Baseline and impact studies on climate change must be communicated in a manner that can be understood by everyone, especially the decision-makers.
We call on the government to declare a state of climate emergency in the Philippines. We appeal to the government and the business sector to raise their level of engagement with communities in the planning, budgeting, and implementation of mitigation and adaptation initiatives. Your bottom line, taxes, votes, the economy, and the very lives of people you serve and depend on are at stake. Heed this call. The time to act is NOW.
# # #