PH welcomes Paris accord on behalf of climate victims
PARIS—The “face of vulnerability” once again spoke of the fate of the vulnerable, to explain why the Paris Agreement on climate change was a universal and binding compact worth adopting.
The Philippines, represented by Sec. Emmanuel de Guzman of the Climate Change Commission, spoke at the 11th and last meeting of the 21st Conference of Parties in this city as current chair of the 43-member Climate Vulnerable Forum.
“For the Philippines, climate change means sorrowful catalogues of casualty and fatality; the countless voices of the homeless and the grieving — their very tears and screams carried to us by the winds and waves that blew their homes away. During moments of great violence and bereavement, ‘victim’ is an inadequate word to capture the loss and damage visited upon us. Each body count has a name and an age — is workmate or lover, neighbor or friend, son or daughter, father or mother. It is in this light that the Philippines welcomes the adoption of this historic accord.”
During the ministerial dialogue on December 8, De Guzman had reiterated the risks the climate-vulnerable faced. “We are the face of vulnerability. We’ve been absorbing the punches and we will continue to receive these punches as the planet continue to warm. We all know the vulnerable countries suffer the life-claiming brunt of climate disasters already today.”
The Philippine statement offered five reasons why the Paris Agreement was “a significant stride forward”—its reference to the once-politically impossible global temperature goal of 1.5 degrees; the inclusion of “human rights as its bedrock principle;” the mention of ecosystem integrity; the commitment of “support in finance, technology, and capacity building for all adaptation and mitigation efforts;” not least, “the inclusion of a Loss and Damage article.”
De Guzman said, “Our Paris Agreement may not be as perfect as we want it to be, but it is essentially an acceptable accord. We can build on it and make it better over time. We must now focus on its implementation and on the compliance procedures and will engage in the process.”
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