BANGKOK, Thailand – The President of a country where storms have intensified in the past years, and whose people are often victims – in terms of lives and economic opportunities lost – said at a summit with the region’s leaders and top business executives that climate change was the “most pressing existential challenge of our time.”
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr made the assertion on Thursday, November 17, during a panel at the Asia-Pacific Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Thailand, one of the side events leading up to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM).
“The Philippines is among the countries at great risk from this crisis, as we stand to lose more than up to 6% of our GDP annually by 2100, according to a study by the [Asian Development Bank],” said Marcos as part of a “scene setting” panel that included World Economic Fund (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab and PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Chairman Robert E. Moritz.
His remarks come as nations continue to deliberate at the United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Egypt. The conference is where nations discuss strategies and plan action to achieve collective climate goals.
“Not enough progress has actually been made, as emissions continue to rise. The Conference of the Parties, the COP27 is in full swing, but stronger action is required,” said Marcos.
In his opening remarks, Marcos said three issues were “critical” in order to prevent the economic downturns of recent years – thanks in huge part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Dark clouds loom large if we are not to be prepared. They loom on the economic horizon and now more than ever our governments and economies must work closer and better together as partners in order to find that break in the clouds where the light of hope and progress can shine through,” he said.
The two other issues, said Marcos, were food security and the improvement of global health systems.
“[The problem of food security] is felt by every household, by every family, by everyone. The issues that the world faces now – from climate change, to inflation, to war – are viewed by the ordinary Filipino through the lens of food security,” said Marcos, who is also agriculture chief in the Philippines.
Marcos also said the world cannot afford another global lockdown and the closing of borders as a result of another health crisis – be it COVID-19 or other diseases.
“Governments must continue to invest in pandemic preparedness and in ensuring the resilience of the global health system. Adopting the One-Health approach and strengthening health surveillance systems for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, from the human-animal-environment interface, can be part of the solution,” he said.
At the APEC Summit, recovery in a “post-COVID-19 economy” is top of mind for leaders of economy in attendance. Twenty-one economies are part of APEC, a regional organization that aims to promote regional economic integration.
“The Future of APEC lies in its ability to revitalize its role as the region that drives the global economy,” said Marcos.
At the APEC, presidents and prime ministers (referred to as heads of economies) hold meetings, as top business executives also hold discussions of their own. Economic leaders also confer with business people through the APEC Business Advisory Council.
Marcos is in Bangkok from November 16 to 19 to attend the AELM and related events, as well as have meetings with business personalities. He is expected to hold several bilateral meetings too, including one with China Thursday afternoon. – Rappler.com