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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Minister , Philippine Mission to the United Nations

Agenda Item 53: Sustainable Development
New York, 26 October 2006

Madam Chair,

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of South Africa speaking on behalf of G77 and China. I would like to highlight a few points of importance to the Philippines.

The promotion of sustainable energy, like for other developing countries heavily dependent on imported oil, is a central component of the Philippine development strategy. Over the last several years, the Philippine government has been promoting a policy to achieve energy independence by increasing the use of indigenous and renewable energy resources , increasing the use of alternative fuels and enhancing energy efficiency and conservation programs.

The country’s drive for energy independence has raised the share of indigenous energy to total energy supply from 45% in 2000 to 54% in 2004. Conventional indigenous energy sources, such as natural gas and oil posted the highest average annual growth rates at 151.2% and 64.5%, respectively from 2001 to 2004.

Currently, the Philippine primary source of electricity generation is from thermal which account for 61.9% with geothermal and hydro contributing 22% and 15.8% respectively. In fact, we are one of the world’s biggest users of geothermal energy and are at the cutting edge of technology on tapping this resource. We are, however, slow with regard to progress in exploiting renewable energy sources since the high initial costs for renewable energy continue to limit its feasible use.

Energy security will continue to have a direct effect on development. We have seen how the rising price of oil has affected domestic markets as well as regional and international trade. A combination of technical and financial innovations are, therefore, needed to increase the affordability of technologies in improving the efficient use of and conservation of fossil-based fuels and in tapping renewable source of energy effectively.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development called for partnership among public entities, development agencies, civil societies and private sector to support sustainable development including the delivery of affordable, reliable and environmentally sustainable energy services. The Philippines welcomes information exchange and global partnership to advance our commitments in energy independence, renewable energy resources development and energy efficiency.

These sustainable approaches to development management are expected to also reap social and environmental benefits. It is vital that we create an environment where we could intensify our efforts in meeting MDGs.

In this connection, the Philippines calls for international attention to the perennial and recurring energy security issue. It is now imperative for the international community to address this issue in a comprehensive manner with the participation of broad-based stakeholders.

Madam Chair,

The Philippines welcomes the opportunity to revisit the implementation of resolution A/60/195 on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and resolution A/60/196 on Natural Disaster and Vulnerability. Being situated in the Pacific rim, natural hazards and looming disasters are facts of life for the Filipino people. The country has been ranked third globally in terms of the number of people exposed to earthquakes and tropical cyclones annually.

The recent spate of natural disasters which hit the country has underscored the need for a more systematic and consistent implementation of risk reduction measures. In keeping with the spirit and intent of the said resolutions, we have within our limited capacity, undertaken risk reduction measures which will enable our communities to cope with and build resilience to natural disasters. This is primarily being done through a variety of measures starting with the generation of risk information on multi-hazards, to provide a firm basis for the development of early warning systems, contingency planning and the development of sound land use and development plans.

Along with this is the training of our first responders and a re-assessment of our over-all capacity to cope with natural disasters. Underlying risk factors such as environmental degradation are also being addressed through various multifaceted interventions. Within the year, we would be undertaking a national vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning for climate change. Overall, we are moving towards developing an integrated and holistic disaster risk management framework to guide the national and local disaster risk management action plans. These will rationalize all disaster risk management interventions in the country and plug the gaps that result in unnecessary mortalities, economic losses and hardship for our people.

But to ensure the successful outcome on disaster risk management, we would need increased assistance from the international community, as stipulated under resolutions 60/195 and 60/196 and the various multilateral environmental agreements like the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, for new and additional resources, including transfer of technology. We take cognizance of the assistance provided by some of our partners and the United Nations system in addressing our inherent vulnerabilities to disasters.

Increased capacities for our institutions and communities will enable us to prepare for and cope with the impacts of disasters, be it natural or man-made, such as the recent oil spill off our Guimaras Province causing the worst maritime disaster in Philippine history entailing grave ecological damage.

Enhancing the capabilities of our disaster management agencies and mechanisms like the National Disaster Coordinating Council and the local disaster coordinating councils at the provincial, city/municipal and village levels, is already half won. We hope that this support will not take long in coming for we are racing against time. As we speak, our world is experiencing changes which we can outpace our adaptation responses. It behooves all of us, therefore, to deliver on our promises and commitments to employ risk reduction strategies and measures to make our people resilient to natural and man-made disasters.

Thank you Madam Chair.

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