DENR, PDRF hold climate forum; Call for stronger partnership between public-private sectors in addressing climate issues

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), in partnership with Ayala Corporation, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, Aboitiz, First Philippine Holdings, and in cooperation with Makati Business Club (MBC) and Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), recently organized The State of Climate Change forum in Makati to facilitate collaboration between the public and private sectors in addressing climate-related issues.

The forum gathered around 200 delegates from government entities, private sector stakeholders, and non-government organizations. It facilitated a dialogue on the current state of climate change in the Philippines and challenges, sharing of best practices and solutions, and exploration of potential collaborative initiatives across sectors. Among the delegates included Ambassadors of New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, and Israel, Ayala Chairman and PDRF Co-Chair Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, MBC and MAP members, PDRF private sector partners, members of the UN Humanitarian Country Team, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Climate Change Commission (CCC).

DENR Secretary Yulo-Loyzaga delivering her Keynote Speech

In her keynote speech, DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga shared that they have completed the National Adaptation Plan, the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and the National Determined Contribution Implementation Plan as part of an “integrated approach towards crafting new evidence-informed plans on mitigation and adaptation.” These documents supported the National Economic Development Authority’s Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 framework to accelerate climate action and strengthen resilience. She also mentioned that DENR is launching a National Natural Resource Development Transparency Initiative for Climate Resilient Development.

Sec. Yulo-Loyzaga also shared that DENR has taken actions to address issues regarding clean air and water, waste management, renewable energy, biodiversity, and minerals development.

“At the DENR we posit that there is a need to meld these in with others that support our mandate to maintain a balanced ecology for all Filipinos – namely laws on clean air and water, the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area Systems Act, the Extended Producers Responsibility law, the Renewable Energy Act and even our Philippine Mining laws. Our principal role of environmental stewardship and sustainable resource use is in engineering resilience through prevention,” Sec. Yulo-Loyzaga said.

Lastly, Sec. Yulo-Loyzaga urged the private sector and other stakeholders to work with the government. “Mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction are critical elements in our race to resilience. These tasks must be informed by science and they are for the whole-of-society and not just the whole-of-government.”

In his opening remarks, Zobel de Ayala reminded everyone that the Philippines is the riskiest country according to the World Risk Index and that low levels of prevention and preparedness make our “vulnerability the highest.” “This is the primary reason we reorganized our mission and strategy at the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation. While we were established mainly as a relief and recovery-oriented foundation in 2009 after Typhoon Ondoy, we shifted our strategy to add preparedness, prevention, and resilience after Super Typhoon Yolanda,” he added.

One of the forum’s highlights was the high-level panel discussion with Sec. Yulo-Loyzaga, CCC Secretary Robert Borje, PwC Philippines Chairman Emeritus Alex Cabrera, MAP President Jose Rene Almendras, and MBC Chairman Edgar Chua. Moderated by PDRF Chief Resilience Officer Guillermo Luz, the discussion emphasized increased stakeholder collaboration and coordination to scale up climate efforts and achieve a more significant impact. Panelists also shared insights in promoting climate-friendly policies and regulations conducive to private sector investment in climate resilience and sustainability. Recognizing the urgency of the climate crisis, they called on other private sector entities to prioritize climate action and sustainable practices.

(L-R) High-Panel Discussion with Guillermo Luz, Edgar Chua, Secretary Robert Borje, Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Alex Cabrera, Jose Rene Almendras

The delegates also signed a Commitment Wall to solidify their commitment and involvement in climate action.

Wall of Commitment; (L-R) Butch Meily, Guillermo Luz, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Edgar Chua, Sec. Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Secretary Robert Borje, Alex Cabrera, Jose Rene Almendras, Veronica Gabaldon

PDRF President Butch Meily said that the forum is the perfect venue to start taking action. “We stand at a critical point where reversing the impact of climate change may be beyond our grasp. This forum is an opportunity for us to unite as a community and make a difference, not just for ourselves but for future generations to come.”