The commitment was the gist of a covenant signed on Friday at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Quezon City on the occasion of Earth Day.
The covenant signing happened on the same day the Paris agreement on climate change was signed by world leaders at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje represented President Benigno Aquino III during the high-level signing of the new global climate accord.
In a statement, Paje described the covenant as a manifestation of the country’s commitment to come up with its national determined contributions (NDC), which outlines climate mitigation and adaptation actions that will be implemented beyond 2020.
Paje said the country’s participation in the signing ceremony in New York was an assurance that the Philippines would continue to work with the U.N. and other countries against global warming “for the benefit of climate vulnerable communities around the world.”
“[With the covenant] we will be making actual deliveries on our intended contributions, transforming them into realities across a wide range of sectors, from energy, industry and transport, to agriculture, waste and forestry,” the environment chief said.
Isagani Serrano, president and country coordinator of Earth Day Network Philippines, said the Paris agreement was only one of those the country had signed to end poverty, reduce inequality and share prosperity while trying to save humanity from climate change catastrophe.
Serrano expressed optimism in finding “game-changing ways to capture and store carbon and give us back clean air.”
“We cannot go on the way we have been doing in the past up till now. We cannot continue with development that degrades the environment and leaves so many behind,” he said.
Around 50 organizations and agencies were represented during the covenant-signing, committing their support to the Paris accord’s goals.
The Paris agreement enjoins parties to minimize the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while actively working towards a lower limit of 1.5 degrees.
To achieve the objective of a 70-percent emission reduction in the country, the covenant encourages different stakeholders to participate in the consultation and formulation processes for the NDC Roadmap.
This will ensure that the roadmap would be guided by principles of sustainable development, low emission development, disaster risk reduction and inclusive growth.
Signatories also commit to pursue policies and prioritize programs and projects that would make ecosystems more resilient and communities more adaptive to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.
The Philippines, through the covenant, likewise supports the global effort to plant 7.8 billion trees to serve as carbon sinks. This is also to contribute to the first of five goals of the International Earth Day Movement, which marks its five-year countdown to its 50th anniversary in 2020. #