A faith-based group in the Philippines appealed to the government to seriously advance its commitments to battle climate change with an “inclusive, transparent, and meaningful plan.”
Rodne Galicha, executive director of Living Laudato Si Philippines, said the government has a lot of time to finalize its draft Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Climate Agreement.
NDCs articulate clear and substantive commitments of governments to global efforts to combat the climate crisis, including moves to reduce national carbon emissions.
The Philippines has promised to submit its NDC before the start of the international summit on climate change in November 2021.
In December, the country’s Climate Change Commission presented a draft NDC to civil society organizations in what pro-environment groups described as “last-minute consultations.”
In a joint statement, at least 17 civil society organizations and faith-based groups said the elements of the draft NDC “were glaringly inconsistent” with the previous commitment of the government.
The groups claimed that the draft NDC was “grossly inadequate in terms of ambition in adaptation and mitigation actions, and the opposite of what the Philippines should stand for.”
Commitments, such as the coal moratorium, rapid transition to a low carbon-powered, resilient modern economy, and shifting the country’s transport sector to low carbon, people-centered mass transport systems were not included in the draft.
Galicha said it is not too late for the government “to make it right,” adding that it could use the remaining months before the summit to conduct “truthful assessment and inclusive consultations.”
He said pro-environment groups, especially church-based organizations “are ready to help the government in drafting an ambitious but inclusive and meaningful” NDC.
“One of the most important factors in drafting the NDC is the peoples’ participation,” said Galicha, adding that “people in the communities” should also be consulted.
Galicha said the government can collaborate with church institutions that have the widest networks and established multi-sectoral formations across the country.
“The national commitment to the global effort in battling climate crisis must come from the grassroots and not the other way around,” he said.
The joint statement of pro-environment groups urged the government to “undertake genuine consultations, not merely information sessions.”
The groups also urged the Climate Change Commission to allow civil society groups to “present and discuss substantively their critique, reactions, and proposals” that can be included in the NDC.