Paris Talks: PH bats for grants-based climate change adaptation funds


04 December 2015

As the United Nations (UN) climate change negotiations entered its fourth day here, the Philippines called for adaptation funds that will not result in additional financial burden for Filipinos.

The country’s lead negotiator for adaptation and director of the Climate Change Office of the Department of Agriculture, Alicia Ilaga, said that they want the Paris agreement to reflect that adaptation finance must be grants-based. 

“Assistance for infrastructure improvement, the relocation of communities to places that are safer, requires money,” Ilaga said. “We shouldn’t have to be subjected to having more debt from the international community to get that help.”

Funding adaptation measures are a critical aspect of the allocation of climate finance, according to Ilaga. Adaptation support is crucial for the country, as it experiences extreme weather events that affect farmers, fisherfolk and other vulnerable sectors. This has implications on the country’s food security and economic stability. 

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 2007 report on “Investment and Financial Flows to Address Climate Change” projected that developing countries would need USD 28 billion to USD 67 billion annually by 2030 for adaptation. 

The maximum projection of USD 67 billion is more than half of the USD 100 billion to be provided under the Green Climate Fund, the main funding mechanism for mitigation and adaptation initiatives in developing countries.

Aside from fund sourcing, there is also an issue on how the funds would be allocated. Finance for adaptation should not come in the form of loans as this will make it harder for developing countries – which are also the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change – to access funds. Loans should be repaid and incur interest. Grants, on the other hand, do not carry such conditions. 

These could best support adaptive measures that would strengthen livelihoods, food security and ecosystems, Ilaga said, adding that this also complements the country’s position that adaptation finance must be needs-based – this means that the country would seek and use funds for their priorities that have been identified in their national adaptation plans (NAPS). The country is in the process of completing its own plan.

The Philippines also wants to ensure that there is parity between mitigation and adaptation in climate finance, Ilaga said, noting that the country believes that adaptation has mitigation co-benefits; hence, funding for adaptation should not be seen as additional costs but as investment to make mitigation also more effective.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a coalition of 43 middle-sized economy and small-island developing countries headed by the Philippines, called for strong support of adaptation actions. They said that adaptation will help them meet their goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to below 1.5°C.

The CVF pointed out that developing countries are already “leading the design of adaptation plans” as reflected in the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) in 2015. The INDCs capture the mitigation and adaptation targets of each country.

President Benigno S. Aquino III, who attended the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) here last November 30, said at the CVF that even if countries are getting better at adaptation, they still need more help.

"People still die and whole communities are displaced; businesses are affected, thus stunting economic activity. Funds that could otherwise be used for other development needs and services are channeled towards the costly efforts involving relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction," he added.

Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman, the head of the Philippine delegation at the COP21, said they will push for strong adaptation support from developed countries, noting that they need predictable, and scaled-up funding to adapt to the consequences of climate change. (PCOO/PND) - See more at: