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Text of RP’s endorsement of Copenhagen Accord

COPENHAGEN, Denmark—The Philippine delegation voiced support for the controversial Copenhagen Accord when the UN climate conference convened for the last time at dawn on Saturday.

Presidential adviser on climate change Heherson Alvarez conveyed the Philippine position, a measured endorsement of the climate deal, past 6 a.m., about four hours before the parties adopted the Accord. He made special mention of the breakthrough in the negotiations over REDD+, or reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, which the Philippines helped broker earlier in the week.

During his intervention, the delegate who chaired the REDD-plus negotiations, Tony La Vina, dean of the Ateneo School of Government and a senior member of the Philippine delegation, sat to Alvarez’s right.

The country’s prepared statement follows:

“We support the adoption of the Copenhagen Accord.

We welcome the efforts made by the group of leaders who negotiated it in the spirit of exploring collective actions. However, we need to constantly and consistently stress the critical importance of transparency, broader consultation, and consensus in these international negotiations.

The Philippines notes with interest the substance of the document. We will continue to study it with great care particularly with respect to its implications for our country. Based on our initial review, and in the interest of time, we would like to point out a few key areas that need to be addressed or strengthened:

• The scale of reductions and level of ambition fall short of our call for deep and early cuts which must be taken and led by Annex I countries. Our country recently endured the wrath of an extremely destructive typhoon that unleashed a month’s amount of rain in a matter of hours. Any inadequacy or delay in action will only increase the frequency and ferocity of severe weather events that can cause untold suffering to millions of our brothers and sisters.

• We must arrive at a legally binding agreement with a clear timetable with respect to the outcome of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action. Aspirations and plans are not enough and the time for action is overdue. Meaningful reduction targets and goals on financing, adaptation, and other essential elements of these negotiations can only be accomplished through legally binding commitments.

• While we welcome the provisions on REDD-plus, we would like to remind this body that this component proceeded very well. Our delegation played a key role in facilitating progress on this issue. There must be, however, and unfortunately the document does not emphasize this, balance between safeguards and action, strict rules on MRV (measuring, reporting, and verifying) and accounting, and that indigenous peoples be particularly acknowledged.

We look forward to the continuation and completion soon of our collective and collaborative work in the Ad Hoc Working Groups on the Kyoto Protocol (KP)and on Long-Term Cooperative Actions (LCA). The positive thing we see in this disappointment in Copenhagen is that it has highlighted the core issues around mitigation and finance. In moving forward on the KP and LCA work, let us have a common resolve not to repeat what happened in our processes where for years, we exchanged positions and waited until the last two weeks, indeed the last few days, to begin serious negotiations.

Mr. President, it is imperative that we parties work together towards a legally binding instrument within a period of six months or at the latest by COP 16. This is the only way we can communicate the deep urgency of this process to succeed and keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees.

Thank you and good morning.”

First Posted 10:32:00 12/20/2009, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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