Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils orients local media with the British government priorities during the visit in Palawan.

The British government views the Philippines as having adequate laws and policies to attain biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.

Laure Beaufils, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Philippines, said that biodiversity conservation is also the heart of ecotourism, which is one the main products of the province of Palawan. The pristine environment of major destinations in Palawan like El Nido should also be maintained with the help of enforcing laws.

“I think you are lucky and got very strong environmental laws. So for me, one of the challenges in the Philippines and elsewhere oftentimes is implementing those and enforcing those. You got strong laws for example against illegal logging, to protect against illegal fishing. Ensuring that those are enforced and ensuring that there are people paid to monitor and tract to that,” she said.

The collaboration with communities and provision of education will help them value the environment and biodiversity. She added that giving alternative livelihood opportunities for communities may help in wildlife protection instead of relying on illegal environment-related activities such as wildlife trafficking to earn.

Discussing environmental concerns with the government and civil society organizations in Palawan is one of the priorities of the British government during the visit to the province. Aside from the Pacific Partnership exercise in Palawan, the British government also aims to find ways to work with the government in mitigating climate change and reducing emissions as the focus of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 in Glasgow in 2021.

The UK holds the presidency of the COP until it is handed over to Egypt at the end of this year.

“In terms of the broader issue of climate change and climate change mitigation, I understand that sometimes, it can feel a little bit scary right now when we think about climate challenge is happening across the world. Sometimes, we feel that we don’t have any real power over this. But I don’t think that is entirely true, I think there’s a lot that we can do as individuals to change the way we affect the climate,” she said.

Beaufils believed that individuals can act and change how they affect the climate by limiting meat consumption, reducing consumption in energy and air-conditioning, and finding goods and appliances that are energy efficient.

“If we don’t make these changes now, it will be too late. This is the decade for climate action, it’s not just the decade, it’s the next two, or three years that will be critical for our children. And our children’s children certainly future generations,” she said.

The communities and local government units must quickly adapt to the consequences caused by climate changes by ensuring climate-resilient agriculture. The mangrove trees and forests must also be protected given their benefits in a time of flooding and typhoons.

Challenge in energy

According to Beaufils, the challenge for the Philippines when it comes to energy is that a lot of these energy sources take a lot of time to build.

The thinking and planning of accelerating the development of new sources of energy must be started whether nuclear or new forms of energy. It will help to aid the increase of demand which is challenged by short-term supply, she added.

“But I think it’s absolutely right to start thinking and planning now to accelerate the development of these new sources of energy. Whether that be nuclear or new forms of renewable energy– I think nuclear can be part of energy mix and I think we have good examples across the world where that’s done wisely. I think it is important to consider the pros and cons and risks here in the Philippines. I think looking into it seems to be a wise thing to do at this point in time,” she said.

Health and education

Beaufils agrees that local health is a key priority particularly under the Mandanas-Garcia ruling and the British government can help in policy and learning exchanges. Aside from health concerns, re-investing in education is also important as she stressed that learning loss is observed in students due to a shift in learning scheme caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, Beaufils mentioned that they have provided programmatic support to the joint UN and government of the Philippines program in human rights.

“I am confident that we are seeing reduction in extra-judicial killings certainly linked to the war on drugs and I’m very much hopeful that continues to be the case,” she said


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