Filipina elected co-chairman of UN panel

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A veteran Filipino climate negotiator was elected co-chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance of the United Nations framework on climate change.

The election of Bernarditas de Castro Muller, former diplomat and a veteran finance negotiator at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was among the agenda of the 15th Meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance in Bonn, Germany on March 7 to 9.

Muller was nominated to the post by the SCF’s Developing Country constituency, which controls 10 of 20 seats and has representatives from African, Asia-Pacific and the Latin America and Caribbean States.

The 10 other seats are held by developed countries that provide climate finance to developing countries.

Muller will help the committee provide relevant advice to UNFCCC State Parties in relation to the Financial Mechanism of the treaty.

These recommendations, when adopted, will guide the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund, the operating entities of the mechanism that provide climate finance in the adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries.

Muller has a long experience in the climate negotiations, having participated in the first meeting in 1991 of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee that produced the UNFCCC.

She has been deeply involved in negotiating UNFCCC decisions that established the Least Developed Country Fund, the Special Climate Change Fund, the Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol and the Green Climate Fund.

During the Marrakesh climate talks in November 2016, Muller was the lead coordinator for finance of the G77 and China negotiating bloc where the Philippines is affiliated. She helped secure a decision that will allow developing countries as parties to the Paris Agreement to use the Adaptation Fund to finance their climate plans. This is seen as a big benefit to the Philippines as it becomes a Party to the Paris Agreement in the coming weeks.

Muller hails from Sta Cruz, Laguna. She graduated from the University of the Philippines, Sorbonne University in Paris, and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. She served as a foreign service officer until her retirement in 2007. Jaime R. Pilapil

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