Politics

EU agrees to move forward with developing-nation green finance

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Floods are seen in Calumpit, Bulacan in this file photo. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE European Union has agreed to “operationalize” the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries tap financing for their climate projects, Malacañang said, following a meeting in Brussels between President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and European Council President Charles Michel.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Office of the Press Secretary said the meeting took place on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-European Union (ASEAN-EU) Commemorative Summit.

Mr. Michel was quoted in the statement as saying that the EU is ready to work with the Philippines on integrating green technology into government operations.

Developing countries have taken the position that industrialized countries must help finance their climate-mitigation efforts, since the developed world is most responsible for the bulk of the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday that the Philippines must budget and mobilize private funding more effectively for climate projects, given the limited resources available to uphold its international commitments.

In 2021, the Philippines committed to reduce 75% of its emissions by 2030. Economic officials have estimated that the Philippines can fund only a small fraction of these initiatives using its own resources.

“The clock is ticking for the Philippines, and the money needed for climate action cannot be mobilized fast enough,” the ADB said in a blog post.

At a separate business summit, Mr. Marcos went to bat for keeping trade open in the wake of rising protectionist sentiment inspired by the concurrent food and energy crises.

“The entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP, the ongoing review of existing trade agreements, and ASEAN’s initiatives to facilitate the trade of essential goods demonstrates the region’s push to maintain an open, free, and fair trade,” he said.

“Thus, while the ASEAN-EU FTA (free trade agreement) remains a common long-term objective, economic cooperation initiatives will be prioritized in areas of mutual interest in order to bridge the gap and realize this long-term objective,” Mr. Marcos said.

RCEP is the largest FTA with participating countries including the 10 ASEAN members, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved Philippine participation in RCEP last year but must be ratified by the Senate to take effect.

The Philippines and Myanmar are the last RCEP countries that have yet to finalize their participation in the agreement. — John Victor D. Ordoñez