Philippines rolls-out P1 billion local climate funds ahead of Paris climate talks

Ahead of the crucial international climate change talks in Paris, France this December, the Philippine government has formally announced on Wednesday its readiness to fund various climate adaptation projects being proposed by the local government units and community organizations.

“The People’s Survival Fund Law”, signed in August 2012, is the first piece of Philippine legislation aimed at financing early plans to help communities deal with climate impacts. The law provides for at least 1 billion Philippine pesos ($21.3 million) per year in government spending and international donor aid for climate change adaptation initiatives led by local governments and communities.

According to Joyceline Goco, Deputy Executive Director of the CCO, the implementation of the PSF augurs well for the government as it undertakes efforts to tackle the adverse effects of climate change.

“With the fund support coming from the PSF, local government units will now have the means to realize the plans they have set up to insulate their constituents against climate change-induced disasters and even exploit the benefits that climate change may bring,” Goco said.

The PSF law also mandates the creation of a Board led by the Department of Finance, to provide overall strategic guidance in the management and use of the fund. The Climate Change Commission will serve as its secretariat.

It outlines adaptation priorities including water resources management, land management, agriculture and fisheries, health, among others, and serve as guarantee for risk insurance needs for farmers, agricultural workers and other stakeholders.

It will also be used for establishing regional centers and information networks and strengthening of existing ones to support climate change adaptation initiatives and projects, for setting up of forecasting and early warning systems against climate-related hazards, support to institutional development such as preventive measures, planning, preparedness and management of impacts relating to climate change, including contingency planning for droughts and floods.

Citing data from the World Bank, Purisima said the Philippines and the other members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum face economic losses from climate change amounting to 2.5 per cent of our GDP per year, at US$45 billion in 2010 and expected to increase almost 10-fold to $418 billion in 2030.

“Here at home, the PSF is an example of the government’s commitment to protect those most vulnerable from the effects of climate change. I look forward to the PSF financing innovative and adaptive projects in response to climate change,” Purisima said. 

Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC) and who also represents the civil society organizations to the PSF Board said: “ Climate finance is very important to track. We must be vigilant to look into this matter.  Accountability and transparency in financing climate change is vital. The People’s Survival Fund, for instance, is a ‘rewards fund’ and not a superfund.”

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