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MIMAROPA calls for strong climate deals at UN

Press Release
September 4, 2015

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan – During its 52nd full council meeting, the Regional Development Council of MIMAROPA in the central Philippines adopted a resolution calling world leaders especially of countries, which have been historically responsible for spewing large amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, to come up with a strong climate change agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

Unanimously recommended by the Social Development Committee, Regional Director Romeo Escandor, Jr. of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) said that the act of the council is to globalise the resolve of the archipelagic region to address the ill-effects of climate change during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to be held in Paris, France, at the end of the year.

“We aim to build disaster resilient communities and push economic growth under the principles sustainable development goals, however, our dreams and aspirations for the future generation needs global collective action,” said Escandor.

The main message of the resolution is to “call on the world leaders especially of countries which historically and until now emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases, to sign a strong agreement to reduce emissions, formulate and implement mechanisms on climate finance in the context of loss and damage and adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and capacity building for countries vulnerable to climate change.”

Composed of the provinces of Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan with a population of 3 million, the regional development council resolution was also in support to the efforts of a climate campaign called Road to Paris initiated by the Climate Reality Project (CRP), a global movement founded by Nobel laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore.

“To resolve this biggest ecological crisis, development paradigm is to be rethought and what the council did is commendable while integrating climate action and disaster risk reduction in regional development agenda,” said Rodne Galicha, CRP country manager who also happens to be a voting member of the council as private sector representative.

Galicha explained that CRP’s initiative aims to mobilise grassroots communities from all over the world urging parties to the UNFCCC to finalise a bold climate agreement which does not only promote planet-wide shift to renewable energy but also address adaptation needs of climate vulnerable countries.

“MIMAROPA region has been endowed with beautiful islands which the global community admires – naturally, a destination of choice. However, our sustainable tourism industry and lives of our people are greatly threatened by extreme weather conditions,” said Eleuterio Raza, Jr., provincial planning and development officer of Marinduque.

According to Raza, the central Philippine region also hosts the famous Verde Island Passage, and its island provinces are known for its pristine beaches, marine and terrestrial biodiversity, and colourful festivals and traditions of different cultural communities.

“Our main thrust for development has been environmentally and culturally sensitive. We may have an iota of carbon emission compared to others but we need to seek climate justice and walk the talk,” said Raza.

Said resolution will be handed-over to the Climate Change Commission and sent to the secretariat of the UNFCCC-COP21.