The Philippines has reached the “point of no return” when it comes to climate change, emphasizing the urgent need for “transformative climate action” at the joint opening plenary of the 60th Sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).

Secretary Robert Borje, vice chairperson and executive director of the Climate Change Commission and co-head of the Philippine delegation, explained that it is imperative to accelerate the momentum for climate action, and this must be anchored in science, evidence, and indigenous knowledge, as the coming times are critical.

Borje’s call is for countries to build on the outcomes of COP28, including the results of the Global Stocktake (GST-1), the UAE Global Climate Resilience Framework, and the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund.

He emphasized the need for urgency in advancing all agenda items, especially the determination of a new collective quantified goal on climate finance.

“The Philippines expresses grave concerns over the destruction caused by extreme weather events in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and other regions. We need to change these stories of developing countries from fragility to agility,” Borje said.

Under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the Philippines has aligned its economic and prosperity agenda with climate change goals. Climate change is now integral to national policies, guiding planning, implementation, and decision-making at all levels.

The Philippines has recently completed its first National Adaptation Plan (NAP), becoming the third ASEAN country and the 56th in the world to submit a NAP.

Driven largely by domestic resources and bilateral partnerships, the Philippines is working on the NDC Implementation Plan, Just Transition Work Programme, Biennial Transparency Report, Long Term Strategy, and NDC updating.

Borje called for collective action to:

• Close mitigation and adaptation gaps and support the development and implementation of NAPs and NDCs by developing nations.

• Urgently operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund, with the Philippines ready to participate in the decision-making process.

• Implement the Just Transition Work Programme to uphold human rights, create green jobs, enhance livelihoods, and develop green and blue economies.

• Accelerate the provision, mobilization, and delivery of finance, technology, and capacity from developed to developing countries.

• Ensure transformative climate action for all vulnerable populations, including indigenous peoples, local communities, women and girls, children and youth, the elderly, and differently-abled individuals.

With the evolving needs of developing nations, Borje underscored the need for collective action, that is transformative, long-term, and sustainable. 

“But we must be clear: in our joint work, we cannot be satisfied with providing temporary reprieve for the weak, the least, and the last. This approach will only lead us to a permanent retreat, and certain perdition. This cannot and must not happen,”

Borje also stressed the need for inclusive processes and universal participation to restore trust and confidence in the multilateral process of the UNFCCC. He reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to engage all Parties and stakeholders to achieve global climate goals.

“There is no turning back. We must forge ahead and move forward together for humanity’s sake, particularly for the most vulnerable and at-risk. Let us work together and create the results we want and need,” Borje declared.

As one of the 198 Parties to the UNFCCC, the Philippines participates in SB60 intersessional climate negotiation.

The Philippine delegation is composed of 11 agencies, namely: CCC, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines (DFA), Department of Energy Philippines (DOE), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Agriculture – Philippines (DA), Department of Labor and Employment – DOLE, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG Philippines), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Presidential Communications Office (PCO), and Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

SB60 held in Bonn, Germany from 3 to 13 June 2024 provides a crucial platform for dialogue and negotiation leading up to COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan.