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PHL is best example of need for climate change adaptation – UNDP


Through the devastation it experienced after super typhoon Yolanda,  the Philippines can push the world to act on climate change.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark said Thursday that the Philippines is the best example of what climate change can do to people and countries and how actions to prevent it should be made now.

She will be asking President Benigno Aquino III to make a pitch during a leader-level climate change summit in New York in September. The summit will be convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"This is a very important platform for President Aquino and the Philippines because you bring such direct experience of what a wild climate does to people and lives," Clark said Thursday.

She cited the moving statements and gestures made by Philippine Climate Change Commission during a conference in Warsaw last year, just after Yolanda struck the central Philippines.

"The voices from the Philippines bring it home that climate change is not some distant thing that might hit people some day. It is crazy climate that is hitting people now and we have to act," said Clark.

She said that the Philippines is no stranger to disasters "but this one (Yolanda) happened to be bigger than anything the world has ever seen."

New international support group

She said there is a need  for a new international group that will help countries like the Philippines with adaptation.

She said this group will also support all countries on sustainable pathways to lowering pollution and to climate-friendly and sustainable development.

UNDP supports PHL plans

Clark said she was impressed with the planning the government is doing for Yolanda-affected areas. "So what the UN system will do is to align itself behind the plans the government is developing and to work with the government to support the capacity to do it," she said.

"Whatever help that we can give to make things happen. We will give," she said.

She said what is important for them now is to be working with government in increasing resilience to extreme weather events. "We look at how can we help invest in things that would make a long-term difference," Clark said.

She also encouraged the countries that pledged assistance to fulfill their promises to the Philippines.

"It is very important that when a country makes a commitment, they carry through with them. Otherwise, you get cynicism if the pledges are not materialized," she said.

Support so far

Earlier Thursday, UNDP and the government of Japan signed an agreement for additional support to Yolanda recovery and resilience programs in the Visayas.

As the humanitarian response transitions from relief to recovery, the Japanese government committed an additional $3.5 million or P157 million to support livelihood restoration and to strengthen local government systems and services.

With a contribution now totaling $7 million, Japan is UNDP’s largest partner in its Yolanda Recovery Program.

“The Government of Japan is committed to help rebuild the affected communities as they remain determined to recover in the face of immense obstacles and personal tragedy,” said Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe during the signing.

To date, UNDP has helped about 40,000 people secure temporary jobs clearing debris. They were each employed for up to 15 days earning much-needed quick cash, while also participating in the clean-up of their communities.

By the beginning of March 2014, UNDP’s Yolanda recovery and resilience program had received $15.5 million from the governments of Japan, Ecuador, and the Russian Federation, as well as from the Central Emergency Response Fund and UNDP.

UNDP still requires $49.5 million to meet the urgent needs of devastated communities who are now trying to rebuild their lives. — JDS, GMA News
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