“Climate change is upon us. Its impact does not discriminate. It transcends beyond color, gender, and economic status.”
- Mr. Arnel Eustacio M. Angeles, MDRRMO Director, City of Manila
To address the urgent need for climate change mitigation, esteemed Ambassadors from NORDIC countries Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden met with several Philippine government officials and industry leaders in the recently concluded NORDIC-Philippine Climate Executive Dialogue. The discourse took place last February 16 at the Manila Hotel with the theme: Advancing Sustainable Solutions and Drivers against Climate Change.
Climate change is a global threat that has resulted in devastating impacts affecting the environment and people’s quality of life, in general. Thus, treating it with urgency is paramount. The Philippines is one of the 195 signatories of the Paris Agreement, which was signed last April 22, 2016. Along with this is the country’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to reach net zero by 2030. This is a serious commitment that can be achieved with the help of the public and private sectors, citizens, and more progressive countries such as the NORDIC countries. Supporting this is a statement from Manila’s Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) Director, Mr. Arnel Eustacio Angeles, on the region’s adoption of policies and ordinances designed to address climate change such as solid waste management, vertical urbanism, and single-use plastic, among others.
The sessions revolved around the government’s role in the forefront of climate solutions and the necessity of investing for climate change resilience. Distinguished panelists discussed ways on how to effectively combat climate change while also minimizing the negative effects that the world is currently experiencing. Best practices from the NORDIC countries were also shared, such as the “No one is left behind policy” in Sweden; resources provision through government and private sectors partnerships in Denmark; collaborative innovation to find smart, sustainable solutions in Finland; and the CopenHill in Copenhagen, a waste-to-energy plant example cited by Ar. “Jun” Palafox.
The Finnish Ambassador, His Excellency Juha Pyykkö, urged everyone to “think and act global.” Congresswoman Jocelyn Limkaichong, Senior Vice Chair for the House Committee on Climate Change, also reminded everyone about the significance of collaborative effort, for “there is nothing that we could not overcome if we all work together.” “Every fraction of a degree counts - let us all work together,” backed by Sec. Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
There is still hope. Our optimism as a nation and as one united world would guide us toward the desired destination. In his closing message, Norwegian Ambassador, His Excellency Christian Halaas-Lyster, addressed the audience as “friends of the climate.” Citing what we have in common, he emphasized on the Norwegian-Filipino spirit — referring to communities coming together to rebuild. From the present’s lens, the world’s future seems bleak. Collectively, however, we should never give up, for there is always a silver lining to the challenges we are facing.