International aid agency Oxfam on Thursday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider the Philippine government’s decision not to honor its commitments to the Paris Agreement.
“It is important for the country, led by the President, to continue being the voice of the poorest, lowest-emitting and most vulnerable people on the world stage. Yes, the Paris Agreement is far from perfect, but it is what we have to work with to ensure countries like the Philippines are financially and technically supported as they shift toward a low-carbon development pathway. It is in this spirit that our country should uphold our commitment to the Paris Agreement,” Dante Dalabajan, Economic Justice Program Manager of Oxfam in the Philippines, pointed out.
Dalabajan, however, said Oxfam shares Duterte’s views “that, indeed, the Philippine government should continue to push developed countries historically responsible for causing climate change, to increase climate funding and cut their emissions fast enough to forestall a climate change catastrophe.”
“The Philippines has been recognized as a strong voice in calling for climate justice in global climate negotiations, not least because it is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world,” he added.
During negotiations in Paris, Dalabajan noted, the Philippines led the influential Climate Vulnerable Forum, an international partnership of more than 40 countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet, in pushing rich, high-emitting countries to help more in limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
Oxfam, he said, recognizes that vulnerabilities to climate change are inextricably linked to economic inequality.
In a report released during the Paris summit, the international aid agency demonstrated that climate change is a crisis that is driven by the greenhouse gas emissions of the “haves” that hit the “have-nots” the hardest.
“We, therefore, urge President Duterte and his administration to uphold its promise to deliver ‘real change’ for the poorest people, who are both the least responsible for and the most vulnerable to climate change, in the Philippines and beyond,” Dalabajan said.
Nationally, he added, this would mean supporting farmers as they shift to climate-resilient crops and practices, and utilizing the People’s Survival Fund to help vulnerable local government units and communities to effectively adapt to a warming planet.
“It also means pushing for a development path that is more and more fueled by clean energy sources,” Dalabajan said.
Internationally, according to the Oxfam program manager, the Philippine government must continue to engage multilateral processes to address the gaps in the Paris Agreement, to ensure binding commitments on the provision of support for vulnerable countries, mobilizing adequate finance to meet a clear climate change adaptation goal and recognizing “the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.”
“Oxfam, for its part, will continue to support local and national development partners who are working to address the vulnerability of communities by building their adaptive capacities and enhancing resiliency. We are also looking forward to working with the new administration as it crafts the Philippine Development Plan to help ensure that climate change adaptation is treated as a cross-cutting priority and that it puts the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable first,” Dalabajan said.