Loyzaga calls on private sector to unite for climate action
Environment Secretary Antonia Loyzaga highlighted the need to shore up biodiversity investments to establish the adaptive management and capacity of regions and communities, during the high-level segment of the 15th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) in Montreal, Canada.
Loyzaga was designated by President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. as his representative and Head of the Philippine delegation which is composed of officials from the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa, Permanent Mission to the UN, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and experts from civil society.
Loyzaga reported the steps being undertaken by the Philippine government to address biodiversity and climate change challenges when she participated in the High-Level Panel on Financing Delivery of the Global Biodiversity Framework upon the invitation of the United Kingdom.
“More investments in science informed mainstreaming are needed to build adaptive management at the subnational down to the community level,” Loyzaga said.
The environment chief also said that biodiversity finance will contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on reducing inequality, poverty, hunger, health, clean water and energy, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities, and responsible consumption and production, among others.
This is in addition to the goal of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to attain SDGs 14 and 15 or life below water and life on land, respectively.
She shared that the Philippines has already begun to align its official development assistance (ODA) with “strategic goals” such as extending support to the 10-Point Agenda for Financing Biodiversity and the High Ambition Coalition.
These aim to address the complex and interrelated linkages between biodiversity, climate change, and inclusive, equitable, and resilient development.
In addition to the country’s international environmental commitments, Loyzaga said the Philippine government has partnered with the One Planet Initiative to explore the potential development of a biodiversity credits market in the country.
As part of its local initiatives, Loyzaga said the Philippines—through the Department of Finance (DOF)—has built a Sustainable Finance Ecosystem, which has garnered strong support from the United Kingdom.
The framework, according to Loyzaga, has enabled collaboration among the DOF, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and the private sector in investing in enterprise risk management, ESG reporting, and the issuance of government and private green bonds.
Loyzaga also announced that the Philippines has already commenced the establishment of a national natural resource geospatial database and a natural capital accounting system which will aid in the prioritization of investments and actions.
She said that the country has also instituted a climate change tagging system in its national budget and crafted legislation on the protection of millions of hectares of forests, wetlands, caves, mangroves, and reefs.
“We have adopted a whole of society and systemic risk-based approach where multilateral development banks and the private sector have a key role in achieving sustainable development, nature-based solutions and climate action, and the valuation of ecosystem services,” Loyzaga stated.
She likewise emphasized that cultures, livelihoods, and the resilience of the Philippines’ developing economy relies on the integrity of its ecosystems and the services they provide. ###
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Antonia Loyzaga underscored the importance of private sector collaboration in measures to protect and restore biodiversity during the COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal, Canada.
Loyzaga, who was designated by President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. as his representative and Head of the Philippine delegation to the 15th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, served as one of the panelists in Conservation International’s event, “Innovations for a Nature Positive and Net Zero Future,” held on December 14. The Philippine delegation is composed of officials from the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa, Permanent Mission to the UN, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and experts from civil society.
The DENR chief shared how the Philippines continues to advance and explore new ways to unlock finance for conservation and climate action through private sector investment.
According to Loyzaga, the traditional public sources of funding for biodiversity conservation are not sufficient and the private sector plays a significant role to complement these.
Loyzaga said the Philippines is focused on two general ways to encourage and enable private sector investment in addressing the biodiversity financing gap: adoption of a systemic, risk-based, and whole-of-society approach; and the creation of a sustainable finance ecosystem.
She said that a systemic, risk-based, and whole-of-society approach underlines that biodiversity, climate change, and sustainable development are inextricably linked.
“Over 50 percent of global gross domestic product is linked directly to nature, but public sector funds support over 80 percent of annual spending. This challenge must be owned by all of us,” Loyzaga stated.
“Each stakeholder – the whole of government, private sector, philanthropies, academia, non-government organizations, and communities – needs to contribute to our sustained action,” she added.
In line with this approach, Loyzaga said the DENR, in consultation with its stakeholders, has commenced the establishment of a national natural geospatial database that will support the development of science-informed baselines and strategies for the environment.
She also said that the Philippines is espousing direct targeted engagement to develop partnerships with the private sector into enterprise risk management, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals and operations.
Loyzaga said efforts are underway to institutionalize ESG reporting as a requirement within the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). ESG reporting is currently voluntary in the Philippines.
She said that debt-for-nature agreements are being implemented and the offset agreements with Conservation International and consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) are being finalized to enable the identification and valuation of natural resources and ecosystem services. This in turn will provide P&G opportunities to reach net zero by 2050.
As for the construction of a sustainable finance ecosystem, Loyzaga shared that the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) has already established a Sustainable Finance Roadmap.
This, she said, strengthened the synergies between DOF, SEC, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in enabling private financial institutions to issue green, development and social bonds, and support projects that contribute to the just energy transition. ###
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has expressed its appreciation and gratitude for the numerous awards and recognition it received this year, attributing these achievements to its hardworking and dedicated workforce.
The DENR was recently named as one of the Philippines’ Best Employers 2023 by the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Statista, a market and consumer data provider.
It also received awards from the Career Executive Service Board (CESB), Civil Service Commission (CSC), and the Philippine Information Agency.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of DENR officials and employees, according to Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Marilou G. Erni.
“What makes the DENR is its people. Today, we give tribute to all of you with these awards given to the Department. What a way to celebrate and end the year,” Erni said during the flag-raising ceremony held at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City last December 5.
As one of the Philippines’ Best Employers, the DENR triumphed as the top government agency and 12th among all organizations surveyed in a large-scale and comprehensive employer study. The survey took into consideration tens of thousands of evaluations, opinions of thousands of employees and the scores of hundreds of companies.
The DENR also received multiple awards under different categories during the Career Executive Service (CES) Congress held on November 22-25 in Pasay City.
The agency was named as one of CESB’s 2022 Outstanding Partners due to its “unwavering support in the Board’s various programs.” It was also awarded as one of the Agencies with Accurate and Timely CES Plantilla Report Submissions of its third level executives and Outstanding Institutional Partner in Learning for 2022 for its valuable contribution to the CES learning and development programs.
Of all the association of career executives nationwide, the DENR’s Association of Career Executives (DENR-ACE) led by Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones was recognized for its constant and reliable support for CESB’s activities and events.
DENR Assistant Secretary for Human Resources, Strategic Communication and Sectoral Initiatives Hiro V. Masuda was bestowed the Outstanding CESB Panel Interviewer for 2022. The said panel interview is the fourth and final stage in acquiring career executive service eligibility for third level officials.
On September 28, the CSC conferred recognition to the DENR Central Office for its “delivery of exemplary public service through the tireless commitment, resiliency, and priceless contributions of its government frontliners and workers amidst the pandemic.”
Last month, the DENR received its fourth consecutive recognition as among the “Top Requested and Performing Agencies" in the 2022 Freedom of Information (FOI) Awards conferred by the FOI Program Management Office of the Philippine Information Agency.
This year, the award was given to the DENR for its consistent provision of timely and active responses to around 500 to 999 requests in the eFOI portal. ###
“Ecological Civilization – Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth”
- Actions and Commitments -
The Philippines envisions a future where biodiversity is restored and maintained to sustain healthy, resilient Filipino communities while delivering benefits to all. The post-2020 GBF must ensure clear linkages to national policy mechanisms and implementation that recognize the intersections between climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable development.
On conservation, we have planted and maintained over a million hectares of degraded forestlands, while more potential protected areas have been identified to bring us closer to our development goals and 30 by 30 targets. These areas include scientifically determined ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) and we regard these efforts as a source of nature-based solutions to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
On sustainable use, ecotourism jobs have more than doubled in the last five years, promoting practices, products and services that enhance biodiversity. Regulations for Mainstreaming Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Practices and Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, have likewise been implemented.
Our high endemism and rate of species discovery, drive our will to strengthen the Nagoya Protocol’s implementation to complement practical bilateral and multilateral benefit-sharing mechanisms for the utilization of genetic resources, associated traditional knowledge and Digital Sequence Information (DSI).
Despite these efforts, much remains to be done across all the land and seascapes to ensure the balance between advancing human development and protecting biodiversity.
On means and tools of implementation, recent estimates show a more three-fold increase in public expenditure for biodiversity, with agrobiodiversity expenditures increasing 9-fold. However, these estimate likewise indicate at least a Php 14 billion annual biodiversity funding gap exists, particularly for protection and restoration. We expect this gap to remain deeply significant, if not larger than previously determined.
We intend to achieve our highest goals while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, women and youth, and the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Development is not sustainable if the vulnerable are left behind.
Call for support
Our President has said that “the preservation of the environment is the preservation of life.”
Mindful of our common but differentiated responsibilities, we join the call for the fulfillment of commitments, specifically for the establishment of a global biodiversity fund that will mobilize resources for biodiversity. We are grateful for the support of our ASEAN neighbors, including the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, and other bilateral, regional and global partners, for capacity building, scientific cooperation, and technology transfer that enables 1) ecosystem risk assessment, 2) the creation of a geospatial database of biodiversity resources and, 3) the establishing of the natural capital accounting system, 4) quantifying loss and damage from climate change, and, 5) measures and safeguards to ensure equitable benefit-sharing from traditional knowledge and genetic resources.
We hold sacred our stewardship of one of the world’s most megadiverse countries and one that hosts the center of the center of global marine biodiversity. We are, however, compelled to address the intersecting crises of biodiversity loss, climate change and inclusive to achieve resilient, and sustainable development. We will therefore invest in urgent and transformative change and one day hope to host a CBD CoP in Manila.
Our vision of living in harmony with nature and building a shared future for all life on earth can only be realized through common values, concerted efforts, and the sustained commitment of all. We must now look beyond restoration, and together work towards investing in the regeneration of life on land and below water to achieve a nature-positive world.##