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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
I thank you, your Excellency, for this opportunity to address the Council and congratulate the Presidency of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, now in the midst of a successful leadership of the Council this month.
At the outset, my delegation associates itself broadly with the views of the Chairs of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 and China as regards the principle that competencies of each organ of the United Nations should be respected to uphold and maintain the clear delineation of their functions and responsibilities.
My delegation is participating in today’s open debate because of the importance of the issues of energy, security and climate change to my country. As to the latter, which has to do with the environment, the Constitution of the Philippines expressly provides that the State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature; and in a landmark decision (Oposa et al. vs Secretary of Environment Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr. et al. [G.R. No. 101083. July 30, 1993]), the Supreme Court of the Philippines allowed children, on their own behalf and on behalf of the children of the succeeding generations, to sue the Government to enforce such right, thereby enunciating the doctrine of intergenerational responsibility and intergenerational justice.
There is a necessity to focus on U.N. system-wide attention on these issues. More important, there is an extreme urgency for international community-wide prioritization, including at regional and national levels, to address the challenges posed by energy security and climate change. My delegation, therefore, hopes that this debate will help raise awareness that would lead to the much needed international consensus for speedy cooperation and action on energy and climate change.
Mankind’s survival on our fragile planet faces a serious threat posed by our fast deteriorating climate. In the landmark decision I mentioned earlier, the Supreme Court declared that unless something must be done now, the world may inherit a parched earth incapable of sustaining life. It is undeniable that inordinate consumption and production patterns, especially in developed countries, have led to the current climatic situation. Let us not, however, be diverted by finger-pointing; instead we should examine how each of our countries can contribute to the mitigation of Climate Change, in keeping with the moral doctrine of inter-generational justice, equity, responsibility and burden-sharing.
The abatement of Climate Change was as one of the main issues addressed by the Second East Asian Summit held on 15 January 2007 in the Philippines. In the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security adopted at the Summit, the ten Southeast Asian countries together with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea agreed to work closely to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through effective policies and measures. The measures contemplated for implementation include, among others, the promotion of cleaner and lower emission technologies for the continued use of fossil fuels while addressing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, development of clean coal technologies and international environmental cooperation through research and development, technical cooperation and financial support.
The decision of East Asia, where one third of the world’s population live, to cooperate in mitigating Climate Change should be replicated or even improved by the other large regional groupings in their own programs so that, collectively, the international community can more effectively mitigate this threat to humanity.
The Environment Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued in November of 2006 the Cebu Declaration on Sustainable Development, through which they expressed their concern over the impact of climate change on eco-systems, in particular water resources, which requires mitigation and adaptation measures to minimize such adverse as flood, drought, landslide and other water-related natural disasters. The ASEAN Environment Ministers reiterated their commitment to address global environmental issues through national and regional cooperation and active participation in international forums. They called upon the international community to continue to work with ASEAN to enhance such collaboration.
Climate Change is also built in the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation covering the period 2004-2009. The Plan mandates the inclusion of environmental and sustainable development concerns in regional energy policy formulation.
The pace of cooperation among countries at the regional level seems to be faster than at the global level, exemplified by the ASEAN initiatives and similar initiatives of other significant regional groupings. For this purpose, there is also a need to focus greater attention to inter-regional cooperation to sustain the rapid pace of regional developments.
Last month, the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and the European Union (EU) held their sixteenth Ministerial Meeting in Nuremberg. The Ministers reaffirmed that both ASEAN and the EU shared fundamental objectives in the wider global agenda and that both should promote effective multilateralism as a means of tackling global challenges, such as Climate Change.
ASEAN and EU Ministers noted with particular interest the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security, which recognizes the urgent need to address global warming and climate change, the need to strengthen renewable energy development such as bio-fuels as well as the goals and measures contained in that Declaration. They agreed to promote cooperation on climate change, energy security, sustainable energy and multilateral measures for stable, effective and transparent energy markets.
ASEAN and EU Ministers further stressed the need for active participation in the Montreal process and related mechanisms aimed at promoting a more effective implementation of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, paving the ground for the negotiations on a global and comprehensive post-2012 climate regime to be launched by the Conference of the Parties by the end of 2007 and completed by 2009, and taking into account the urgent need for action resulting from the scientific pieces of evidence contained in the report of the 4 th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The Philippines itself has made Climate Change a priority issue. Recognizing the urgent need to confront the issue and address its adverse effects, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo established in February this year the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change . The Task Force was ordered to conduct a rapid assessment of the impact of climate change, particularly on the most vulnerable sectors like water, agriculture, coastal areas and marine ecosystems and to ensure strict compliance with air emission standards, combat deforestation and apprehend violators. In addition, the Task Force will initiate strategic measures to prevent or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country through improvements in fuel efficiency, energy conservation and promotion of renewable energy and waste management. It will conduct a massive public information and education campaign on climate change.
The UNFCCC recognizes, among other things, that poverty eradication and economic development are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries. Under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, developed countries have to take the lead in modifying longer-term trends in anthropogenic emissions, such as changes in consumption and production lifestyles, to address Climate Change. In view of this, the Philippines wishes to stress the following points:
1. All the risks are of equal significance and are equally applicable to all parts of the world. However, developed countries are more equipped to respond and manage these risks than developing countries; and therefore; there is need for a truly global cooperation among them, with developed countries, with their historical responsibilities, taking the lead.
2. There is a need to further improve our understanding of the technological responses in addressing climate change, particularly its adverse effects through adaptation, recognizing that developing countries remain the most vulnerable to these adverse effects. What is needed is cooperative development of technology, which would ensure that there are no barriers to effective technology transfer and that this technology would be adapted to the needs of user countries. Cooperative development of technology would address both the needs of developed and developing countries, all of which are affected by Climate Change.
3. All countries should comply with their legally binding obligations under the UNFCCC, in particular on the provisions of financial resources and transfer of technology. Greater resources should be provided for concrete adaptation measures.
4. The pursuit of sustainable development is fundamental for all countries. As such, all countries should take Climate Change considerations as an integral part of their development plans.
In conclusion, my delegation wishes to point out that the years 2007 to 2009 will be critical in testing the resolve of Member States to take bold and decisive steps to mitigate Climate Change. As long as the approach involves all stakeholders – governments, parliaments, non-governmental and civil society organizations, the private sector, faith communities, and above the peoples themselves – and a determination and political will to make and fulfill commitments, we will be able to save mankind and make this planet a beautiful place to live in.
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