MANILA, Philippines - A ranking Philippine delegate to the recently-concluded United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa lauded efforts of first-world nations to accommodate major concerns of the developing and most vulnerable countries.
Commissioner Heherson T. Alvarez of the Climate Change Commission cited the "Durban Package" agreed on by the UN Conference of Parties, or COP 17, in extended sessions that exhausted negotiators from almost 200 countries.
Alvarez said the Philippines strongly supported the package formalizing a second international commitment to the Kyoto Protocol which was scheduled to expire next year. The renewal included draft amendments to the protocol.
"The Durban Package also spelled out a roadmap process towards a new climate change deal that will be legally-binding for all countries as well as a set of decisions to implement the Cancun accords, including the Green Climate Fund," the former senator stressed.
The Green Climate Fund, Alvarez said, is a centerpiece adaptation program for vulnerable countries. Designed as a way for developed nations to assist poor countries hard hit by climate change, the fund will cover the costs of adaptation at the level of $100 billion a year by 2020.
However, Alvarez pointed out, developing nations demand that the fund be adequate and directly accessible to countries in need, does not undermine national sovereignty, and is not susceptible to the greed of international banks and multinationals
Alvarez also cited a growing COP consensus that market-based instruments should be harnessed to address climate change, to drive home the point that private sector and individuals have a huge stake. Through levies on air travel, for instance, new funds can be raised to bolster global incentives for clean technology, carbon sequestration, and green energy.
At the same time, he said, resort to market forces is likely to provide a partial reprieve to the sputtering economies of the developed nations and lessen their inhibitions to long-term carbon-cutting goals.