Building a more climate-resilient future: Prioritising climate actions and finance in the Philippines

Philippines

With support from the UN Environment/UNDP/WRI Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme, the Philippines has begun developing its own prioritization and project screening tool to identify its greatest needs in terms of adaptation and mitigation

While a country’s aspirations on climate action may be ambitious and far-reaching, a key step in turning these ideas into concrete activities is a prioritisation process, which assesses a country’s most urgent climate-related needs; its existing capacity to deliver, manage and monitor projects; as well as the ability of its existing financial architecture to fund climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.

With support from the UN Environment/UNDP/WRI Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme, the Philippines has begun this process, developing its own prioritization and project screening tool to identify its greatest needs in terms of adaptation and mitigation vis-à-vis the Green Climate Fund investment criteria.

“The prioritisation tool will help the Philippines rationalise its aspirations in terms of climate finance, in particular how it engages with the Green Climate Fund. There is still limited understanding within the Government about how the GCF operates and how to access it. The prioritisation tool will serve as a very useful guide for both the government and the private sector to understand what projects will fit under the GCF lens,” said Floradema Eleazar, UNDP Philippines Inclusive and Sustainable Development Programme Manager.

While the Philippines does have a National Climate Action Plan (2011-2028) which outlines priority areas of action, it does not include a climate investment priority plan, a complementary yet crucial component, which maps what the country can afford within its own public sector budget. Recognising that it is not possible for the government to fund all climate change initiatives, the prioritisation tool helps the government develop an investment plan that incorporates opportunities to engage external funding from the private sector or through international funds such as the GCF.

Another important part of the prioritisation exercise is deepening the understanding of key actors, particularly the National Designated Authority (NDA) - the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - as well as other government agencies and the private sector, about the core components of climate finance and the different roles they can play.

“The Senate has champions; the country has a Climate Change Act and certain laws that try to propel climate action. Some of these agencies are already working on climate action without realising it. But we need to deepen peoples’ understanding of where we need to go in terms of climate investment, and how they can contribute,” said Sara Jane Ahmed, UNDP Philippines Climate Finance Expert.

In particular, engagement with the private sector is seen as crucial to scale up climate action through market expansion and revenue generating/loss reduction activities, aligning initiatives with the country’s overall climate investment strategy.

The prioritisation exercise will help the NDA establish a sustainable institutional mechanism to access funding for and implement climate initiatives, establishing productive partnerships with the private sector and seeking additional sources of funding such as the GCF to catalyse domestic funds. It is an important first step towards building a robust climate adaptation and mitigation pipeline and solidifying partnerships for finance, resulting in improved climate resilience for the people of the Philippines. 

Photo: UNDP Climate Change Adaptation