The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change.
Thus, efforts for mitigation and adaptation on these impacts should be incorporated in national development planning and in the overall development framework of the country from now up until the foreseeable future.
The leading author of the past IPCC reports Dr. Saleemel Huq of the International Center for Climate Change and Development noted that “this (referring to the climate impacts) is going to get worse and it is not going to get better in my lifetime and in your lifetime” addressing young people during the Global Youth Training on Climate Change that I attended organized by Oxford University and the Global Youth Coalition.
The progress that the national government has made in terms of including climate action in national development is laudable but still underwhelming considering the intensity and frequency of impacts that the country is experiencing in the past 10 years and in the impacts that it will still experience in the coming years.
The recognition of the climate crisis and the inclusion of climate action in the national framework strategy is an important preliminary step in pursuing sustainable development in the era of climate crisis.
However, the call for collective action on climate change should not only be included in speeches of talking heads and in press releases but must also be reflected in the national development planning and implementation.
With this, the country must improve its ambitions and commitments in terms of climate change adaptation and mitigation to protect its people and to pursue a more sustainable national development.
By increasing the resilience of communities to the impacts of climate change, the country can protect its developmental gains in the past and can also accelerate development in vulnerable areas and communities to achieve the national vision as stated in the Ambisyon Natin 2040.
In the same way, by heightening the emission reduction goals, we can also protect our communities from the worsening warming of the planet and at the same time create more green jobs, generate more revenue from green industries, and foster a “greener and bluer” economy as the plan also entails.
This shows that climate actions will not only protect our communities but also spur our economy towards a climate-resilient and economically-competitive future.
The country must also strengthen its efforts in pursuing climate justice at the global level by initiating or supporting efforts of other developing countries to hold polluters accountable.
Though our country has repeatedly called for developed countries to meet its commitments in climate finance and for the establishment of the loss and damage fund facility, the developments in these areas have been relatively slow considering the increasing intensity and frequency of rapid and slow onset events affecting our communities. Climate financing can also be a source of funds for our various national development efforts.
Lastly, our country’s development leaders and managers should also seek expert’s opinions, particularly in the context of climate change. We have several climate scientists and academics who have significantly contributed to understanding of this global crisis in the international arena.
Our country should take advantage of their expert knowledge to better inform our national development plan and the implementation of it moving forward.
Moreover, it must also seek to be consultative - to include the voices of communities in the fringes of our society who are at the forefront of these climate impacts.
The climate crisis not only presents threats, hazards, and risks but also presents an important opportunity to redefine national development. It is imperative that the threats are minimized, the opportunities are exploited, and actions are taken at this point since the window of opportunity in addressing the climate crisis is slowly closing and in the words of Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency Antonio Guterres: the climate time-bomb is ticking.
Joshua Villalobos is a queer youth climate activist from Negros Island, Philippines. Currently, he is studying Sociology at Silliman University.
For comments, suggestions, discussion, or invitations, you may contact him at email@example.com.
May 26, 2023
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