Current government officials, as well as the candidates in the May 2022 national elections, should fight climate change to enable the Philippines to achieve a sustainable and healthy future, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines.

WWF Philippines pointed out that the government should not waste the opportunity to avert an impending catastrophe for all Filipinos.

It also urged the government to tackle the real problems the people and the country are facing regarding the environment because providing a safe and healthy environment is one of the basic tenets of human rights.

“ We are calling on the current government, as well as candidates running for office, to champion every Filipino’s human right to a safe and healthy environment, and our basic right to exist and survive in this country,” the WWF Philippines said in a statement that was released during the Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 Summit held in Glasgow Scotland from October 26 to November 12.

“They need to present a clear vision to navigate with exceptional leadership so we all could be together in mitigating the effects of and coping with the climate crisis that affects all of us,” the WWF Philippines added.

The huge gathering is vital for countries to come in unison to discuss how climate change will be tackled and to agree on global and national targets.

According to the University of Edinburgh, COPs assist  governments to craft their own climate change targets, and hopefully influence the different sectors, localities and organizations to change the  climate change targets.

The climate COPs have met annually since 1995. In 2015, the 21st Session of the COP (COP 21) was historic for having the first international climate agreement, dubbed the Paris Agreement.

WWF Philippines said COP26 is quite significant because it is one of the COPs before 2030—the point where if the world does not halve the global emissions to keep the warming within 1.5 degrees Celsuis, the damage becomes irreversible.

“Urgency is key on mitigation efforts, climate finance, adaptation, and loss and damage. The Philippines is both a megadiverse country in terms of biodiversity and third in the world in the Climate Risk Index. Our voice uniquely counts in COP26,” WWF Philippines said.

WWF also urged the government to pursue the following measures as part of COP26:

Synchronize all sectors on the goal: A commitment to mobilize and unite, from cities, government agencies, companies, academia, civil society, and investors, among others, to further step up action in line with the Paris Agreement objectives to advance the climate agenda, including in greening of Covid-19 pandemic recovery finance.

Make national emission reduction targets to be all “unconditional”: Build on the momentum for enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions, the National Adaptation Plans, and Long-Term Strategies, responding to the findings of the latest UNFCCC NDCs Synthesis report. While we appreciate the commitments made by the Philippine government, we know that we can do much better knowing what we need, as only 2.71 percent of the 75 percent emission reduction target remains unconditional, while the remaining 72.29 percent is conditional.

1. Recognize and operationalize a consistent and robust integration of the value of nature in our social, economic, and political lives: These include but are not limited to legislation, policies, strategic plans, budgets, measures, and tools that include “nature” as an integral part of the framing of “cost and benefit” for our people and country.

WWF-Philippines said nothing has changed in the messaging since this was already articulated 50 years ago.

“The message did not go away because the realities that triggered it now loom over us as existential threats,” it said.

“ COP26 is one of our final chances to Change the Ending for people and planet,” WWF-Philippines said.

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