Knowledge Sharing Forum “World bank VP Rachel Kyte - A Speaking Event on Climate Change”
The Forum is a knowledge-sharing activity organized by Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department and World Bank-Knowledge for Development Center, last May 22, 2014.
(Photo 1: Rep. Susan A. Yap of the 2nd Dsistrict of tarlac presents an institutional token to World Bank Group Vice President as guest speaker in the Knowledge Sharing Forum on Climate Change held at the House of Representatives. Witnessing the event are Commissioner Heherson T. Alvarez of the Climate Change Commission, Presidential Adviser for Environment Protection Neleus O. Acosta and Director General Romulo E.M. Miral, Jr. of the CPBRD.)
Description of Event: The Forum aims to provide key insights and recommendations on how the country could accelerate reforms in managing the impacts of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions while contributing to poverty reduction. The resource person in the Forum was Ms. Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group’s Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change. The presentation made was based on World Bank’s report entitled “Getting a Grip on Climate Change in the Philippines.” The report looks at the innovations and gaps in policy and financing of climate change programs in the country.
Highlights: It was brought out that the Philippines should confront climate change as part of the global effort to end poverty and boost prosperity. Climate change is a challenge that requires collective action by national governments, development partners, private sector, civil society, and local communities. It is not just an environmental challenge but a fundamental challenge to economic growth and financial stability.
Ms. Kyte emphasized that countries like the Philippines, the world’s third most vulnerable country to weather-related extreme events, needs to take bolder actions before the impacts of climate change put prosperity out of reach for millions and roll back decades of development. She said that if we do not confront and address the impact of climate change, we will not end poverty. She added that the “cost of inaction far exceeds the cost of action.”
Governments can design and enforce policies that put resiliency at the core of development. Climate resiliency should also be at the core of the private sector’s investment decisions with the involvement of communities and local leaders. By acting fast to develop adaptive capacity and employing a sustainable green growth strategy expanding on mitigation opportunities, the Philippines will avoid substantial economic and humanitarian costs that may arise from the impacts of climate change.
The Climate Change Act of 2009 and the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) represent a clear evolution of priorities from mitigation to adaptation. However, the national, sectoral, and local development plans and policies are not fully aligned with the NCCAP, leading to difficulties in monitoring climate activities and hampering coordination and convergence across sectors and levels of government.
Moreover, the execution and coordination of climate action are hindered by a lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities across institutions. The roles of and relationships between the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the other oversight agencies are not yet clarified, formulated, prioritized, or streamlined, thus limiting the effectiveness of CCC as a policy-coordinating body.
Insufficient institutional capacity, including limited access to knowledge and the complexity of planning tools, have also hindered efficient execution of Climate Reforms and Climate Action. Knowledge gaps and the lack of knowledge management system have been key barriers for scaling up Climate Action in Departments and LGUs.
In terms of budget, most of the climate expenditures and appropriations in the Departments fall under the NCCAP priorities on Water Sufficiency, Ecosystem and Environmental Stability, and Food Security. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) commands 52% of climate appropriations, reflecting the government’s desire to prioritize investments for flood control protection.
Ms. Kyte further pointed out that although climate appropriations focus on adaptation measures, the share of appropriations for mitigation funding rises faster. She noted that appropriations for mitigation programs, activities, projects (PAPs) have grown nearly three times as fast as adaptation PAPs.
In comparing the budget with the Public Investment Program and Departments’ work programs, some major climate PAPs are adequately funded while others remain underfunded or not funded at all. Knowledge and capacity development is largely underfunded despite its importance and prominence in the NCCAP. While the People Survival Fund (PSF) provides a dedicated source of funding for local adaptation activities, funding gaps remain for mitigation and national/regional adaptation activities.
Ms. Kyte estimated that LGUs are most susceptible to the impacts of climate change, and have the greatest need for public support. She admitted, however, that assessing local level expenditure is challenging as funding is highly fragmented across many different sources. She said that the World Bank is supporting the design of a Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Resilience Fund being developed by the government. The fund, she noted, will be designed to build resilience at the national, local government and individual levels.
Moreover, the fund should be able to finance targeted investments to improve resilience to climate change and natural disasters and provide funds to local governments for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, as well as recovery and reconstruction. She added that between the government, international partners and the private financial and insurance sectors, all the means are available to the Philippines to be the first country to ensure such a comprehensive approach to funding resilience.
Meanwhile, World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi declared that implementing the country’s climate change programs with increased financing, improved design, and greater focus and coordination contributes significantly to the country’s development goals. He pointed out that labor-intensive activities such as developing climate-resilient farming and retrofitting infrastructure for flood control will build resilience, while increasing job opportunities especially for the poor. He emphasized the importance of climate change adaptation in achieving inclusive growth.
In closing, Ms. Kyte identified four recommendations on how to accelerate reforms in dealing with the impacts of climate change. She stressed that the government should (1) ensure that the enabling environment is firmly in place by completing and implementing the remaining pieces of the core climate change reforms; (2) formulate, enact, and support complementary sector and local-level policy and institutional reforms; (3) enhance design and implementation of climate PAPs to improve their effectiveness; and (4) through these previously stated reforms, increase efficiency of resource use and provide support for higher levels of financing.