Senator Loren Legarda is organizing efforts for the Philippines to tap the Green Climate Fund (GCF) by the end of this year or early next year, her office said after she returned from a high-level GCF dialogue in Bali last week.
The Green Climate Fund is a fund established by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to support climate resilience and mitigation efforts in developing countries. The GCF is intended to provide financing through loans, equity, guarantees, and grants, and requires that beneficiary countries and their proposed projects be accredited, which is the process the Philippines is now working through.
In a statement at the end of the High Level Segment of the Green Climate Fund Structured Dialogue in Asia in Bali, Indonesia last Friday, Legarda said she would convene a national dialogue for stakeholders on the GCF to ensure that the country prioritizes the right programs for funding, and to involve the private sector and non-profit organizations.
Officials of finance and environment ministries from Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, and Malaysia joined Legarda at the high-level conference.
Legarda is the chair of the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Finance.
“We must heighten the level of awareness among our national government agencies and the domestic private sector on the GCF. A national structured dialogue would gather all government agencies concerned and discuss what proposals to pursue. We also need to involve the private sector so that they can also be accredited entities that can access funding from the GCF,” Legarda said.
“We hope that the GCF would expedite the accreditation of our state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines as a national implementing entity (NIE),” she added.
The Senator said that even without an accredited NIE, proposals could be prepared for GCF support for programs such as mangrove, bamboo, and coral reef rehabilitation and protection, and renewable energy projects, particularly in areas still lacking electricity.
Legarda said the government is preparing to submit a grant proposal to GCF by December 2017 titled, “Build the resilience of poor communities in the Philippines,” which would benefit at least 10 million farmers and 500 local government units in at least 19 provinces.
“We must ensure that our programs are transformational as indeed envisioned by the GCF, and that these projects would lead to the implementation of our environmental laws and directly benefit our people. The ongoing Asean Summit in Manila is a venue where these issues can be discussed because nations in Southeast Asia are facing similar problems. Most of us are vulnerable developing nations, but we must translate these challenges into opportunities to promote sustainable and equitable development,” Legarda explained.
Legarda also suggested several areas in which the GCF could expand its policy to address social and economic issues.
“I hope that the GCF can adopt a policy that outlines the rights of indigenous peoples as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and for the Fund to strengthen its country ownership guidelines to include women and indigenous peoples,” she said.
In addition, Legarda suggested that the GCF can devote specific readiness funding for outreach and engagement with civil society organizations and other stakeholders that will help strengthen capacities, understanding, and safeguards on gender and indigenous peoples; and to establish formal engagement and consultation processes with stakeholders, including national coordination mechanisms that allow participatory monitoring in partnership with National Designated Authorities (NDAs).
Legarda has also sought the support of the GCF Secretariat in crafting legislation for the creation of green banks in the Philippines.
“I will lead the development of policy for the creation of green banks for financing climate adaptation and mitigation, as well as disaster risk reduction and management programs, because we need to involve the private sector in striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection,” she said.
Legarda has introduced a measure in the Senate that would establish environmental units in every banking institution to “assess and ensure that projects subject of financing applications as well as collateral offered as security shall conform to environmental laws.”