Tuesday, November 23, 2021

What’s next for the Philippines after COP26?

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Surprise announcements and flowery speeches won’t solve the climate crisis; Urgent actions and decisions should come immediately.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) ended in overtime and on a disappointing note despite the urgent calls for world leaders to make commitments on crucial points, including the phasing out of fossil fuels.

“While the text agreed is far from perfect, we are moving in the right direction. What is essential to watch for now are the concrete steps Philippine government officials will take,” according to Atty. Angela Ibay, WWF-Philippines’ Head of Climate and Energy, said.

Now that the conference is over and the delegates are back home in their respective countries, the real and definite work begins. Policies need to be put in place, executive decisions need to be made, implementation enhanced, and stakeholders must be gathered and galvanized so that the country can move towards a future responsive to climate change.

“After COP26, we have a chance to Change the Ending for the planet. Our officials know their roles, they know the targets needed to be achieved to keep on track and aligned to the 1.5C temperature goal. Implement our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) properly and unconditionally, while ensuring nature stays at the heart of our response to the climate crisis, in tandem with a full transformation of the energy system,” Ibay said.

“Most Filipinos are already suffering from the climate crisis, but that doesn't mean the situation is hopeless. This is the fight for our survival and for the planet. And we need to win. Whatever it takes,” she said.

Philippine government officials should take the following urgent concrete steps following the pledges and promises they committed to at COP26 in Glasgow:

  • Accelerate the clean and just energy transition through more renewable energy sources and energy efficiency use

  • Undertake enhanced implementation of the Philippine NDC and ensure that the Philippine national budget supports our climate actions

  • Put in place executive measures and policies that integrate sustainability in the systems that provide our basic needs

  • Seriously implement actions to stop nature loss, scale-up restoration, and integrate the value of nature in our national plans

  • Use effective leadership to get our local governments, the private sector, and all stakeholders to apply solutions towards climate resilience, environmental protection, and sustainable development.

COP26 wrapped up one day beyond the schedule with weak decisions in a number of important areas, including adaptation, loss and damage and climate finance. But, there are significant hooks in the text for countries to increase short-term climate ambition and to implement binding climate policies. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres admitted that countries “did not achieve these goals at this conference. But we have some building blocks for progress,” 

"Unfortunately, the collective political will was not enough to overcome some deep contradictions," he said in a video statement after COP26.

He also had a message for the "disappointed" young people, indigenous communities, women leaders, and all those leading the charge on climate action.

“I know you are disappointed. But the path of progress is not always a straight line. Sometimes there are detours. Sometimes there are ditches. But I know we can get there. We are in the fight of our lives, and this fight must be won. Never give up. Never retreat. Keep pushing forward.”

The Philippines was a signatory in several declarations announced during the conference including the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use which commits to halting deforestation and restoring forest land.

“COP26 is not just a one-time event where world leaders make surprise announcements and flowery speeches. Words won’t solve the climate crisis. Actions are what we need to see to Change the Ending for the planet now,” Ibay said.

“The Philippine delegation, led by DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, should make it clear now what direction the country is heading to protect nature and people from the worst effects of climate change,” Ibay said. “With the elections and a change of administration coming next year, our leaders should not put off addressing the climate crisis for later anymore.”

More information about WWF-Philippines’ call to #ChangeTheEnding by transitioning to a new and green normal can be found here:

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