Crunch time as PH prepares for Paris climate summit

Fritzie Rodriguez
Crunch time as PH prepares for Paris climate summit
The Philippines vows to submit its list of climate actions in time for the Paris climate summit in December 2015

MANILA, Philippines – Less than 6 months to go until the world gathers in Paris for one of the most important climate summits in years, and the Philippines has yet to mark progress in its various efforts to combat climate change.

On Tuesday, June 9, the Senate committee on climate change discussed the Philippines’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), a list of “post-2020 climate actions” that will help countries achieve the international goal of keeping global warming below 2°C.

The goal was agreed upon in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of 1992. Before the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015, countries worldwide had agreed to publicly outline their INDCs.

All this is happening for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations.

As of June 2015, 11 countries have submitted their INDCs. Only two developing countries have submitted theirs so far: Gabon and Mexico, which committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 22%.

The Philippines is yet to finish its INDCs, but aims to meet the deadline in October 2015, said Secretary Lucille Sering of the Climate Change Commission.

National contributions

The INDCs of countries across the globe will be consolidated in November 2015. This will reflect what every country is doing to limit future climate risks worldwide.

“Countries should follow a transparent process when preparing their INDC in order to build trust and accountability with domestic and international stakeholders,” the World Resources Institute (WRI), a non-governmental global research institute, said.

In the Philippines, INDC orientation and workshops among government agencies began in January 2015. A technical working group – composed of key government agencies – was then formed in March.

In May, sectoral discussions on the INDCs were made. This involved consultations with the National Solid Waste Management  Commission and the Environmental Management Bureau.

This will be followed by consultations with private and economic sectors, the academe, non-governmental and civil society organizations starting June.

The INDCs will then be presented to President Benigno Aquino III before they are finally submitted to the UN prior to the Paris climate summit.

Needs, challenges

“An INDC should also articulate how the country is integrating climate change into other national priorities, such as sustainable development and poverty reduction, and send signals to the private sector to contribute to these efforts, the WRI suggested.

Sering stressed that the Philippines also has existing policies and initiatives that could support the INDCs:

  • Philippine Development Plan
  • Green Growth Initiatives
  • Low Emission Development Strategies
  • Wealth Accounting and Valuation Ecosystem Services

However, challenges still lie ahead of the Paris climate talks. 

Much is yet to be done, said Sering, such as in quantifying emission reductions, coming up with tools and methods for mitigation analysis, and integrating sustainable development in mitigation and adaptation activities.

Aside from these, the INDCs must include concrete action plans, the implementation’s time frame, scope, and coverage.

Sering also stressed the need for the private sector’s cooperation in crafting and executing the INDCs. In fact, the Climate Change Commission has been consulting the Makati Business Club, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, and the Philippine Business for Social Progress, Sering added. –


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