Exec: Climate change awareness needed

The Climate Change Commission is highlighting the need to raise the level of awareness and understanding of the Filipinos about environmental crises.

CCC vice chairperson and executive director, Sec. Robert Borje, said the commission is also eyeing to strengthen partnerships with other stakeholders including government line agencies, local government units, youth groups, experts and the private sector to reach its goal of increasing environmental consciousness among individuals.

Borje added there is a need to further capacitate the LGUs in terms of climate change adaptation.

“So the CCC is working on the local climate change adaptation plan and we’re working with the Department of the Interior and Local Government especially now because we just got off from the election cycle,” Borje said in an interview over the Daily Tribune’s Straight Talk show aired on Tuesday.

Climate change adaptation is a series of actions that reduce the negative impact of climate change while taking advantage of potential new opportunities, which involves adjusting policies and actions amid the observed or expected changes in climate.

Borje said the commission wants to increase the level of cooperation and submission from the stakeholders so that the required climate change adaptation will be more efficient and manageable.

“In the same manner, we have to also strengthen our partnership with government agencies because there are different mandates, but again, as I said earlier, climate change as a whole-of-government approach, it’s a cross-cutting governance issue,” he added.

Borje bared that the funds of the national government institutions for climate change under the national expenditure program have been increased to P420 billion budget — which is seen to be a huge help for every agency to effectively implement their respective climate change policies.

He said it is a more than 40 percent budget increase from the usual funds.

“We want to use this to increase the resiliency not just of the agencies, but of their programs as well. It is also important to push partnerships with strengthening the national panel of technical experts so that they can be available, especially for local government units that do not have the capacity to undertake projects,” Borje said, mentioning the essence of the People’s Survival Fund to each LGUs.

The People’s Survival Fund was established by the virtue of Republic Act 10174 of 2012, which seeks to provide long-stream finance for adaptation projects of LGUs and local organizations to promote community and ecosystem resilience to climate change.

At least P1 billion is annually allocated for the fund which can be augmented through donations, endowments, grants and contributions.

“It’s a P1 billion fund that is available LGUs to bolster their funding for climate change adaptation programs right now the utility rate is about 35 to 36 percent. And we want to increase it and we want the funds to be used very quickly for their adaptation projects and it all boils down really to energy use,” Borje said.

The CCC is also focusing on the promotion of climate change justice agenda, he added.

“We’re strengthening our mechanisms right now, our coordination with government agencies, particularly with those that are preventive, in nature,” Borje said. “So we’re working very closely with the Department of Energy, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture and DILG and Department of Education for information and education campaign.”

Borje noted that the CCC is currently expanding its international engagements to further improve the country’s climate change policies.

“We’re involved in a series of discussions with international stakeholders on how to further bolster the climate justice agenda through unlocking climate finance in the multilateral arena and to make it responsive to the needs of people, especially when it comes to loss and damages,” he said.

CCC wants to push a “fully-enabled Philippines” to respond to and mitigate climate change.

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