Senator Loren Legarda urged the government to immediately comply with the requirements of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for the country to have access to the Climate Change Adaptation Fund.
“The proposed budget may not be enough for all our disaster risk reduction efforts and while we are establishing a one-billion-peso fund for climate adaptation efforts through the People’s Survival Fund Act, which the Senate has already passed on third reading, it is never enough,” Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said during the Senate deliberations on the Proposed 2012 General Appropriations Act.
The Senator explained that despite having a catastrophe bond, which is a standby liquidity loan that will cushion the effects of disasters in the country’s economy, the Philippines still needs to avail resources from the Adaptation Fund to help finance its climate change adaptation initiatives.
“There are other countries which have accessed the Adaptation Fund of the UNFCCC, but the Philippines, being the third most vulnerable to disasters, has not yet availed a single dollar from it because of the lack of a National Implementing Entity (NIE), through which the fund can be accessed. According to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), all we need to do is establish or appoint the NIE and once we complete the requirements, we can access the fund within six months,” she pointed out.
Legarda stressed that the national government needs to access all available funds for climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction efforts as it carries most of the burden during disasters since the resources of local governments are rapidly depleted in the event of a disaster.
“This is the compelling reason why disaster impacts should be evaluated in public investment planning from national to local levels. Governments are responsible for a stock of public assets, which includes schools, health facilities, roads and infrastructure. At the same time they are often the insurers of last resort for the houses and assets of low-income households and communities,” she explained.
“A well-balanced portfolio of investments for disaster risk reduction and management—which may include a mix of various instruments, such as national and local contingency funds, credit and insurance—is therefore encouraged to enhance the sustainability of public spending, strengthen financial protection and fiscal stability and ensure a more predictable recovery and reconstruction in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Furthermore, a developing country such as the Philippines needs all the support it can get, from other sectors and the international community, for its disaster preparedness efforts,” Legarda concluded.***
Office of Senator Loren Legarda
RM.209, Senate of the Philippines,
GSIS Bldg. Pasay City