The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been commended by the World Bank for its efforts to ensure public funding for the effective implementation of programs and projects relating to climate change.
The World Bank, through its sector leader for environment and natural resources Christophe Crepin, cited in particular the DENR’s role in formulating a program budget approach (PBA) called Risk Resiliency Program (RRP).
“I would like to commend the leadership that the [DENR] had provided in preparing a draft Guidance Document on the formulation of the 2016 Risk Resiliency Program (the Program Budget Approach of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change), and on developing consensus in the Cabinet Cluster for its adoption,” Crepin said in a letter addressed to DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje.
RRP aims to strengthen the resiliency of natural systems and urban built environment, as well as the adoptive capacities of vulnerable groups and communities to current and future risks and disasters due to climate change.
Crepin said the DENR, which heads the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change, was also instrumental in establishing an inter-agency technical review committee and in identifying focal points in each agency at the Undersecretary level.
“These are positive developments that highlights the importance and elevate the visibility of [RRP],” Crepin said, noting that the cluster’s guidance document envisions that the technical review committee be supported by a Secretariat housed in the Climate Change Office of the DENR.
Thus, Crepin urged the agency to take the “necessary steps” in arranging with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the creation of the Climate Change Office within the DENR “to enable this supportive role, which would complement the positive steps that have already been taken.”
As a response, Paje said the matter will be referred immediately to the DBM as the DENR places high priority on the creation of the Climate Change Office within the department.
“The RRP provides an opportunity to strengthen and scale up government efforts to address climate change. It aims to boost coordination and convergence among national government agencies in the planning, budgeting and implementation of priority programs for climate change,” the environment chief explained.
The Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation is chaired by the DENR Secretary with the Climate Change Commission functioning as Secretariat. Its members are the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council; the secretaries of the Departments of Science and Technology, Public Works and Highways, Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, Energy, and National Defense; and the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
The cluster seeks to promote sustainable natural resource utilization, and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and measures among national government agencies, the local government units and their respective communities, the general public, and other stakeholders.
It serves as an advisory committee to the Office of the President and as such, it recommends measures on policy and operational matters for final consideration of said office.
Earlier, the World Bank cited the government’s commitment to address the climate change challenge in the Philippines, which is one of the countries most vulnerable to extreme weather events and sea level rise.
It noted that the proposed 2015 program under the PBA of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change consisted of about four percent, or P107.3 billion of the entire 2015 national budget. This means that the government has scaled up such PBA by five-fold between 2013 and 2015.
The World Bank also pointed out that President Benigno Aquino III’s budget message of 2015 highlighted the increased funding through the PBA and the government’s ability to more effectively monitor and account for climate spending using the climate expenditure tagging system.
Posted By: Lynne Pingoy