Climate change adaptation and mitigation need to be placed at the heart of socioeconomic planning for the country to achieve its 2040 vision of eradicating extreme poverty, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.
“Addressing the triple planetary crisis [of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution] has become our top development challenge. If we are to eradicate extreme poverty in the Philippines by 2040 and hand down a better planet to our children and grandchildren, climate change adaptation and mitigation need to be placed at the heart of socioeconomic planning,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua at the Philippine Environment Science Summit 2022 held today.
Chua emphasized that urgent actions are needed to curb greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in response to climate change.
He also mentioned that the health of terrestrial and marine ecosystems has been deteriorating at a rapid pace.
He further described the third planetary crisis–pollution and waste–as the toxic trail of economic growth that results in premature deaths of millions of terrestrial and marine life, and even people.
In response to the triple planetary crises, Chua said that NEDA has proposed for the theme of the next Philippine Development Plan to be ‘saving our planet, saving our country.’
The NEDA chief added that the government formulated the Philippine Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production (PAP4SCP) to provide the guiding framework towards the shift to sustainable and climate-smart practices and behaviors across sectors. According to Chua, the PAP4SCP can facilitate green recovery by integrating circular economy approaches to attain the sustainable development goals.
Within the agency, NEDA has also formed a ‘climate change community of practice’ to align all NEDA work programs and staff groups with the goal of climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Moreover, Chua emphasized that the Philippine government will continue to pursue human capital development and inclusive economic growth.
“The country will be hard-pressed to address pollution and shift to sustainable consumption and production if there is a large scale of inequality in the country, where the poor cannot afford to eliminate, for instance, the ‘tingi culture,’” he said.
To close, Chua invited the attendees to work together to address the ‘most pressing crisis of our time.’
“We have seen how a single crisis or disaster can cause significant delays in our progress. The only way to sustain our growth is by ensuring our country’s resilience against the impact of climate change. […] Each of you has a significant role to play if we are to pass on a better planet for our children,” Chua said.
The Philippine Environmental Science Summit 2022 was organized by the University of the Philippines Los Baños – School of Environmental Science and Management. The event was attended by educators from international and Philippine higher education institutions, government agencies, and non-government organizations.