Legarda delivers P-Noy speech/Schools for forward learningMarch 17, 2015
Bad though the stories have been about some goings-on in the Philippines, President Aquino expressed optimism about the country’s commitment to disaster risk reduction. This was relayed by Sen. Loren Legarda who delivered, on the president’s behalf, the Philippine official statement at the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDDR) in Sendai, Japan.
“The Philippine Statement is a declaration of our commitment to disaster risk reduction. We share with the world how amid our vulnerability, the Philippines has been undertaking serious efforts to building resilience by adhering to the five priority action plans of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA),” Legarda said. “As nations chart a new course for the sustainable and resilient future of a climate change-altered planet, typhoon-battered Philippines will take a proactive role.”
“The laws that we have enacted provided the framework and commensurate funding to build the resilience of Philippine communities through the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation in various phases of policy formulation, development plans, poverty reduction strategies and other development tools by all agencies of government,” she explained.
“This year, 2015, is a critical year for human survival as we take action on the inter-related issues of disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change – agenda that have brought us together in Sendai and which will lead us later this year to the roads of New York and Paris,” said Legarda.
The Philippines, she said, is actively participating in drafting the successor framework to the HFA. At the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR held in June 2014, the Philippines, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, contributed to the Asia-Pacific Input Document for Post-2015 Framework for DRR by advocating for a more equitable distribution of responsibility to both governments and other stakeholders.
“We may be vulnerable, but we are not helpless,” said Legarda. “We are working towards managing and reducing disaster risks to address our vulnerability. We are grateful for the world’s support especially in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has actually strengthened the Philippine government’s resolve to embrace the concept of building back better. We will do our share to make the post-2015 framework an effective DRR blueprint for the next decade.”
Legarda’s choice to read the Philippine statement was apt. A three-term senator, she has authored and sponsored many Philippine environmental laws, including the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 and the Climate Change Law of 2009. She is the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) chairperson for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change adaptation for Asia-Pacific.
The senator said the United Nations reported that economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of $250 billion annually.
“Traditionally, private sector involvement in disaster management has focused largely on response and relief. But businesses have the potential to bring in core competencies for shaping innovative and sustainable solutions and therefore play a vital role in building resilience.
“Our call to the private sector is to put disaster resilience at the core of their business strategies.”
“We should consider disaster risk reduction not as a cost but a wise investment. UN and World Bank studies indicated that for every dollar invested in resilience and prevention, four to seven dollars is saved in response.
“The private sector can also look at how sometimes a greener approach can be a more resilient approach.
“Green building designs significantly reduce demand for energy, water and materials through ecologically sensitive design and maintenance practices. It can generate up to 30 percent in energy savings, reduce carbon emissions by 35 percent, reduce water use by 30-50 percent and save 50-90 percent in waste output.”