PHL, EU hold second meeting of the Sub-Committee on Development Cooperation

The 2nd Meeting of the Sub-Committee on Development Cooperation was held in Manila on November 23, 2022, as part of the annual bilateral dialogues foreseen under the European Union (EU) – Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).

The work of the Sub-Committee was formally opened by Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Jaime Victor B. Ledda, and EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron.

A mission from the European Commission Directorate for International Partnerships joined the EU delegation in Manila for this dialogue. Meanwhile, the Philippine Government was represented by officials from the Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Foreign Affairs, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Mindanao Development Authority, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Reconciliation and Unity, Supreme Court, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Commission on Human Rights.

During the meeting, the Philippines and the EU emphasized their shared commitment to continue their partnership through development cooperation.

Both sides discussed the attainment of the EU’s development programmes in the Philippines and their contributions to the country’s socioeconomic development and peace process in Mindanao. The EU presented the key elements of the 2021-2027 programming period, and in particular the overarching strategic goals of the ‘Global Gateway.’ This is the EU’s offer to third partner countries for an equal partnership based on shared common interests, to provide EU added-value contributions to strategic initiatives and investments.

The Sub-Committee in particular discussed the key goals and components of the Team Europe Initiative on Green Economy. The EU will finance this programme with EUR 60 million, targeting solutions at both the national and the local levels to contribute to reduce plastic waste, including marine litter; implement effective waste management; and support renewable energy.

As part of the Team Europe Initiative on Green Economy, the Philippine Government also welcomed the EU’s initiatives on enhancing skills to match the demands of a modern sustainable economy; supporting the creation of green jobs; and taking full account of vulnerable parts of the population.

The EU highlighted that the focus on “green” is in line with the EU’s global commitment on Climate Action under the EU Green Deal. During the dialogue, the co-chairs committed to swiftly take forward the approval of the Green Economy Programme for the Philippines in early 2023.

The Philippines reiterated its commitment in prioritizing and addressing the gaps in climate financing with programmes and initiatives towards climate adaptation and mitigation, especially bringing in EU know-how, targeted technical assistance, and blended finance investment.

The Philippines also underscored the EU’s support to the country’s bid to promote inclusive economic growth through increased green finance instruments and circular economy to achieve low-carbon energy and increased energy efficiency.

The co-chairs also recognized the strong collaboration between the Philippines and EU, which contributes significantly to the peace-building in Mindanao and the reforms in the Philippine justice sector.

Other areas the Philippines and EU authorities jointly identified as priorities for PH-EU cooperation are disaster risk management and digital cooperation, including the future Team Europe Initiative on Digital Transformation and Connectivity, to build on the Copernicus National programme.

The Philippines also discussed the instrumental role of the PH-EU and ASEAN-EU cooperation, which provides the opportunity to access favorable financing to bring much-needed upgrades to the country’s digital, energy, transport, health, and education infrastructure with the ASEAN Team Europe Initiative on Green and Sustainable Connectivity, which are crucial for the post pandemic economic recovery.

The Sub-Committee was co-chaired by Finance Assistant Secretary Neil Adrian Cabiles and Mr. Mario Ronconi, Head of Unit, South Asia and South-East Asia from the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA).