Climate-vulnerable Philippines pushes for grants-based adaptation funds
Philippine EnviroNews, Paris, France
As the UN climate change negotiations enters its fourth day, the Philippines calls for adaptation funds that will not result in an additional financial burden for Filipinos.
Alicia Ilaga, the country’s lead negotiator for adaptation and director of the Climate Change office of the Department of Agriculture, said that they want the Paris agreement to reflect that adaptation finance must be grants-based. “Assistance for infrastructure improvement, the relocation of communities to places that are safer require money. We shouldn’t have to be subjected to having more debt from the international community to get that help,” she said.
Funding adaptation measures are a critical aspect of the allocation of climate finance. Adaptation support is crucial for the country as it experiences extreme weather events that affect farmers, fisherfolk and other vulnerable sectors. This has implications on the country’s food security and economic stability.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 2007 report on “Investment and Financial Flows to Address Climate Change” projected that developing countries would need $28 billion-$67 billion annually by 2030 for adaptation. The maximum projection of $67 billion is more than half of the $100 billion to be provided under the Green Climate Fund, the main funding mechanism for mitigation and adaptation initiatives in developing countries.
But it is not just a question of how much money is needed, it’s also an issue of how the funds would be provided. Finance for adaptation should not come in the form of loans as this will make it harder for developing countries – which are also the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change – to access funds. Loans should be repaid and incur interest. Grants, on the other hand, do not carry such conditions.
Ilaga said these could best support adaptive measures that would strengthen livelihoods, food security and ecosystems. This also complements the country’s position that adaptation finance must be needs-based – this means that the country would seek and use funds for their priorities that have been identified in their national adaptation plans or NAPS. The country is in the process of completing its own plan.
The Philippines also wants to ensure that there is parity between mitigation and adaptation in climate finance. The country believes that adaptation has mitigation co-benefits; hence, funding for adaptation should not be seen as additional costs but as investment to make mitigation also more effective.
Vulnerable countries clamor for below 1.5 degrees Celsius
The Climate Vulnerable Forum, a coalition of 43 middle-sized economy and small-island developing countries headed by the Philippines, called for strong support of adaptation actions. They said that adaptation will help them meet their goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to below 1.5°C.
“Adaptation needs are inseparable from the long-term goal. The approximately 3-degrees of warming that current commitments have the world on track for will require enormous adaptation efforts compared with current needs,” the CVF said in its Manila-Paris Declaration released on Nov.30.
“Holding the rise in temperatures below 1.5°C reduces adaptation costs significantly even if major additional efforts are already required simply to manage impacts associated with the current 0.75-0.85°C degrees of warming.”
The CVF pointed out that developing countries are already “leading the design of adaptation plans” as reflected in the intended nationally determined contributions or INDCs in 2015. INDCs capture the mitigation and adaptation targets of each country.
“The Paris agreement can make a difference on the ground if it supports the implementation of these proactive adaptation actions, and further efforts to lead by example,” the CVF stressed.
President Benigno Aquino III also pointed out at the CVF forum that even if we are getting “better at adaptation,” we still need more help.
“People still die and whole communities are displaced; businesses are affected, thus stunting economic activity. Funds that could otherwise be used for other development needs and services are channeled towards the costly efforts involving relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.”
Sec. Emmanuel de Guzman, head of the Philippine delegation at the 21st Conference of Parties or COP21 in Paris, said that they will push for strong adaptation support from developed countries. “We need predictable, scaled-up funding to adapt to the consequences of climate change. The world must heed this call if they are sincere in helping developing nations. There should be no strings attached in this assistance.”