Aerial shot of the province of which was heavily damaged by super typhoon Yolanda (MNS photo)

Aerial shot of the province of which was heavily damaged by super typhoon Yolanda (MNS photo)

NEW YORK, New York, Sept 24 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III called for a global coordinated effort to address climate change noting that with the changing climate, both big and small nations become vulnerable to its ill effects.

“The choice before us, then, is clear: Together we must face these challenges and surmount them, or together we will suffer the consequences of inaction,” the President said in his speech at the United Nations Climate Change Summit on Tuesday at the UN headquarters here.

Nations should not engage in another protracted debate over the individual commitments of countries, he said adding it would be a wrong framework to address the issue.

“Instead, everyone here has to do everything they can to address climate change, without first waiting for their neighbors to engage in action,” he said. “Doing anything less leaves the problem unattended, too, thereby increasing the problem we all face.”

Although not a major emitter, the Philippines is not waiting for other nations to act first, he said.

The country has been addressing climate change to the maximum with its limited resources. Legislation has been enacted to lessen the impact of disasters by adopting a comprehensive approach to disaster response, the President said.

The government has also improved its weather forecasting so that it could send timely warnings to vulnerable communities.

For national and local authorities and residents, the government has undertaken multi-hazard and geohazard mapping, which is integral to the effective assessment of risks, according to the President.

It is also carrying out a massive national re-greening program and intensified the crackdown on anti-illegal logging activities.

At the same time, the government also started tagging public expenditure on climate change to ensure that the appropriate prioritization and allocation of funds is achieved, he said.

To reduce the impact of disasters on the poorest and most vulnerable Filipinos, the government engaged other stakeholders in developing a disaster risk financing and insurance policy framework.

“Perhaps the international community may see the value of such an instrument, and look at it as a model to increase the financial resiliency of other nations in a similar situation to ours,” the President said.

The Philippines also has to continue to take steps to maintain and even improve the country’s low-emission development strategy and the trajectory of its energy mix, the President noted.

“And we are hopeful that our fellow developing nations, especially those who have been gaining the economic wherewithal to pursue similar strategies, will tread a path akin to ours,” he added.

Although less industrialized, the Philippines never lacked the resolve with regards to transitioning towards less traditional sources of energy, the President said.

What is lacking is the country’s access to technology, financing, and investment that would allow it to accelerate its strategy, the President noted, believing however that the real challenge is to innovate in the transfer of useful technology and the building of climate-smart infrastructure.

Climate change does not recognize national boundaries, or political or economic affiliations, according to the President. The chief executive cited the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda that hit the country last year. (MNS)