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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
HON. MARGARITA SONGCO, Deputy Director-General National Economic and Development Authority at the Fifteenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, 10 May 2007
At the outset, my delegation congratulates you and your bureau for ably steering our session. The Philippines aligns itself with the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
In the course of the policy review for the CSD-15, we have recognized that the thematic areas of energy for sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution/atmosphere and climate change have strong inter-linkages. These inter-linkages suggest that a holistic and a strategic menu of policy actions is needed in order to expedite actions for implementation and put to optimal value available resources to address poverty at the national, regional and international levels.
The Philippines continues to make progress in eradicating poverty and we remain committed and optimistic that opportunities to make significant strides in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, particularly those that support anti-poverty initiatives, will continue.
This optimism is anchored on the fact that the underlying objectives of the MDGs and the sustainable development agenda are embodied in the Philippines’ National Sustainable Development Strategy. These include, among others, critical actions on the thematic areas discussed in this CSD session including equally important measures to build capacity and partnership among various stakeholders, especially Local Government Units (LGUs).
On energy development, the Philippines’ most recent accomplishment was the signing into law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines’ Biofuels Act of 2006 (Republic Act 9367). This legislative measure provides for a policy environment that would allow diversification of energy sources and expansion of opportunities for livelihood by mandating the use of biofuels as a measure to develop and utilize indigenous, renewable and sustainably sourced clean energy sources. This would also reduce dependence on imported oil, mitigate toxic and greenhouse gas emissions, increase rural employment and income, and ensure the availability of alternative and renewable clean energy without detrimental effects to the natural ecosystem, biodiversity and food reserves of the country.
Being a new initiative, the Philippines takes stock from the lessons and experiences of other countries, such as those shared during this CSD session.
Notwithstanding our progress, challenges remain daunting to make advances in the four (4) thematic areas. Policy level challenges need to be addressed collectively. Considering the interrelatedness of these policy concerns, common or cross–cutting actions should be at the forefront of the CSD’s integrated development interventions.
These challenges include concerns on technology development and transfer, financing and capacity development.
The Philippines supports the promotion of clean and environmentally friendly energy sources, as well as the diversification of the energy mix through the development and use of indigenous, alternative and renewable energies. This strategy does not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but will also facilitate energy access especially in remote and isolated areas common to archipelagic states such as the Philippines.
In the area of industrial development, the Philippines continues to support the promotion of eco-efficiency following the concept of cleaner production technologies.
Meanwhile, to complement policies in addressing industrial pollution, regulation and monitoring of household level compliance with air emission standards is equally underscored. Parallel initiatives on capacity development for public health monitoring and compliance, including economic valuation researches on the health costs of air pollution are needed in strengthening the regulation and enforcement of mitigating measures for air pollution. On a national scope, the Philippines would explore the integration of rooftop greening policy for architectural design requirement under the Building Code of the Philippines as a mechanism for adaptation.
Under the Philippines’ participation in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Changes’ (UNFCCC) Kyoto Protocol, 17 projects have been issued letters of approval, out of which 8 have been registered at the CDM Executive Board. However, there is a gap in capacity development for needed services particularly on baseline determination and monitoring in priority sectors, energy efficiency, transport and afforestation/reforestation, among others. These areas have high potential for exploring application of the CDM.
To carry out these policy options, however, there is a need for adequate and predictable flow of financial resources that is particularly accessible to developing countries where national/local governments are constrained to support big ticket and long-gestating projects.
Clearly, cooperative action and synergy are key elements in addressing the crosscutting policy concerns on financing, technological and capacity challenges and constraints.
In conclusion, the Philippines continues to be faithful to the principles of sustainable development; remain a staunch supporter of the Rio and the Johannesburg commitments. But it realizes that we can progress further only in partnership with all sustainable development advocates and practioners among the CSD-member countries, the international development agencies, and the major groups.
Thus, the Philippines actively seeks and looks forward to further collaboration with all of you.
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