More local actions to hasten climate change adaptation

MANILASenator Loren Legarda has called on the global community for more aggressive local actions to accelerate the adaptation of vulnerable communities to threats brought about by climate change.

Legarda's call was made during the launch of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) at The Hague, Netherlands on Tuesday evening.

Jointly headed by former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon, philanthropist Bill Gates, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, the GCA aims to create a bold strategic vision for adaptation and act as a catalyst for large-scale, transformative action and partnerships to help vulnerable countries and communities become more resilient, address extreme poverty, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Commission is composed of 17 convening countries, including the Philippines, and 28 commissioners representing all regions of the globe and all sectors of development and industry.

Legarda, who was chosen as one of the GCA commissioners, said during the Stakeholder's Dialogue that one of the things that the commission should do to be effective in accelerating climate change adaptation is to balance advocacy and action.

While national policies, financing and convergence across all sectors are needed to address climate change impacts, these should all translate to actual local action, she said.

Everything that we discuss at the global level would mean nothing if not translated into local action that will be felt by the communities and the people themselves who are affected by the impacts of climate change," Legarda said.

She said achieving this would scale up and speed up the pace of global climate action.

The next step, she said, is to harmonize fragmented efforts.

This Commission will be exceptional if it strives for harmony amid the disarray and fragmentation of global adaptation efforts, Legarda added.

Third is to enhance local resilience. The Commission must endeavor to unlock the full potential of countries by enabling them to become adaptation experts. The development of a local climate change action plan is an example of how policies need to find fruition on the ground to build resilience in our communities," she said.

Legarda cited the continuous efforts of the Philippine government to capacitate local government units and communities in climate change adaptation through National Adaptation grants.

This year, four municipalities received close to USD4 million for multi-year programs on climate-resilient agriculture, ridge to reef disaster risk reduction systems, ecological farming, and a climate field school for farmers and fisherfolk.

At the first meeting of the GCA commissioners, Legarda noted the importance of doing a national risk assessment as a critical part in the preparation of climate-resilient investment plans.

"From risk assessment, the proper technology can come in, and the right amount of financing not just in donations but in investments," she said.

She also urged the GCA to deliver on the expectations of the vulnerable and the poor, for them to become more resilient to climate-related threats.

Not only to become resilient amid climate impacts but also to transition justly our brown economies to green economies and to make all realize the economic and social benefits the pursuit of low carbon development brings to our peoples," she said.

We cannot afford to fail. The Commission shall make the difference, Legarda added.

Meanwhile, Legarda and other commissioners are expected to provide strategic direction and technical input on the GCA's flagship report that will be presented at the 2019 UN Climate Summit.

The flagship report will layout the importance of accelerated adaptation to climate risks, what new actions are needed, what must be done differently, and how governments, companies and citizens can be part of these actions.

The commissioners, who were chosen for their track record of global leadership on major issues, commitment, and ability to advance the GCA's work, are also expected to engage with global leaders and decision-makers on adaptation; and guide development and implementation of action tracks, which may lead to new adaptation initiatives, coalitions and programs. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency