(2017-03-09)THE World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday highlighted what the Philippines has done so far to enhance its economic and financial response to climate change at the kickoff of the three-day Vulnerable 20 Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation held at the ADB headquarters.
The Philippines led V20 or the economies deemed most vulnerable to climate change when it was established in 2015. It has since expanded to 43 developing economies from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The 15 participating countries in the Asia-Pacific consultation include Ethiopia (the current V20 Chair), Bangladesh, Barbados, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Fiji, Kiribati, Maldives, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Palau, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Viet Nam.
Of particular relevance to the discussion on disaster risk financing of V20 is the situation in the Philippines, said Richard Bolt, ADB county director for the Philippines.
“ADB is implementing a technical assistance project to identify opportunities and mechanisms for strengthening the enabling environment for disaster risk financing in three V20 countries, and is just commencing a technical assistance project on the development of a city government disaster insurance pool here in the Philippines,” he said.
However, Bolt noted there is more that needs to be done regionally.
“ADB looks forward to supporting the V20 in moving forward on its agreed actions, to maintaining a continuing,
open dialogue to strengthen climate resilience, and to ensuring that ADB assistance is tailored to best support the achievement of V20 priorities, both nationally and regionally,” he said.
The World Bank said it has been proud to work with V20 members like the Philippines for many years as these countries have developed pioneering responses to climate change.
World Bank Group Program Leader Birgit Hansl noted the Philippines is now working on a comprehensive approach to building financial resilience.
“It identified key strategic priorities including: the commitment of maintaining the fiscal health of the national government to support long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction; enabling local government units the units the provision of immediate cash at the onset of disaster; and working toward reducing the impact of disaster on the poorest and most vulnerable while preventing them from falling into a cycle of poverty,” she said.
Hansl emphasized that the World Bank is playing its role, and supporting its clients to fulfill their Nationally Determined Contributions through a new Climate Change Action Plan that involves stepping up commitments in key areas such as renewable energy, disaster preparedness and urban resilience.
“It confirms the World Bank Group’s commitment to increase the share or our financing that delivers climate benefits from 21 to 28 percent by 2020,” she said.
“The V20 is ideally placed to exercise a leadership role in the proactive management of climate-related risks,
and an improving capacity to recover quickly and effectively after disasters and extreme weather events,” she added.
The three-day regional consultation of the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Ministers of Finance (V20) aims to mobilize international, regional, and national investment for climate action, as well as discuss financial instruments for disaster risk reduction, public financial management, and carbon pricing.
The meet was attended by finance ministers and senior officials from 15 developing economies across Asia and the Pacific, and supported by the Manila-based ADB, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank Group and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.
“Climate-vulnerable countries such as the Philippines fought to enshrine a 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming limit in the Paris Agreement, not only to survive but also to thrive. We have to transition to clean energy-powered economies not just because it will save the climate but also because it will produce more jobs and pump prime the economy,” said Sen. Loren Legarda, who opened the consultation.
The event will support the roll out of the V20 Action Plan, adopted in 2015 to address V20 climate finance needs, and provide an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience between the countries in support of enhanced climate finance and technical capabilities. It will also focus on disaster risk financing to strengthen the countries’ financial resilience against disaster risk at national and international levels.