Mayor Step attends side event of OECD at Paris UN Climate Conference

City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan attended a side event as a panelist by invite of OECD at the Paris UN Climate Conference last December 02, 2015 to share our experience as a city relative to climate change.

The following is the transcript of her speech during the said event:

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Before Yolanda, the drivers are the media, personal advocacies of leaders and when mandated by the government. Back then it’s global warming, but we have to accept the fact that during those times these activities are shallow, it was more on information dissemination, orientations, and others.

As to personal advocacies of local leaders, there are really local leaders probably because of their experiences (meaning they have worked previously in projects related to environment example in Catbalogan, they are advocates of the establishment of the Samar Island Natural Park, or they have been involved in community immersions related to environmental management). These local leaders have biases more in environmental policies and projects.

Third driver is the existence of national policies that needs to be localized such as ecological solid waste management act, clean air act, clean water act, climate change act and the likes. These policies or laws require local governments to perform corresponding programs and projects.

After yolanda, the climate change action is driven by real experience, it is not about the book, laws and other persons telling us that these things need to be done, this experience naturally drives us to do something because it is our life, property and future that is at stake, we have to be prepared always and such preparation should be multi-sectoral and comprehensive.

What are the barriers of climate actions? Policy misalignment, mandate, financial, information and knowledge, and capacity and skills. Of these five, misalignment of policies is crucial. Although local governments are autonomous, we cannot deny the fact that the more mismatched our priorities, the more that we cannot implement some of our climate change actions. In national policies and mandates, we can implement policies of national government if we feel it is needed and on the other hand we can also propose deviation (not necessary extreme versions) of the national policies.

As to mandate, although there is no problem about it, we hope that when we have mandates to cascade to local level there should be back up support. As much as possible we have to do everything.

In the financial aspect, much as we would like to fund important programs but the question is the capacity of the local government. Still we are appropriating resources for climate actions, but it is not enough. For instance, we allocate fund for the purchase of equipment we prioritized, but again it’s not enough. There are things equally important that we also need to fund.

Knowledge, information, skills and capacity are really big barriers years before, that is why we invested so much amount on training and capacity building activities, however such is not enough. We still have to enhance the capacity of our people not just our responders, we go back to financial barrier to address this, we may have all the intention to address this gap but we don’t have enough resources.

I’ll make this very brief and direct…

UNFCC can help NFS by:
1. providing technical assistance
2. financial assistance to NFS. This will address the last three barriers: financial, knowlede and skills.

We do not mean we ask for money, what we need is how are we going to tap funding agencies, and other institutions that can help us technically and financially.

For the ongoing negotiations for the provisions needed in the 2015 COP22, there are a lot of things to be said, be shared and I can’t give it one by one. I just want to highlight this — provide support to highly vulnerable communities, such support may be in the form of financial or technical support.

I remember when I talked to the President of the League of Cities in the Philippines a month ago, what I said was “Mayor, I think as president and as a signatory of different agreements and declarations it’s high time that we cascade all information and agreements to all mayors of the Philippines. By then, it will be there responsibility now to cascade to the community, through programs, projects and awareness. I told him to expand the commitment, expand the good news, expand the negotiations. For at the end of the day this is not all about CATBALOGAN or Quezon City but this is all about all the municipalities, cities around the world.”

So again as an ending, let’s hold hands together and step forward together for together we can make the best things happen. Thank you and good morning!

‪#‎catbalogancity‬ ‪#‎stepforwardcatbalogan‬ ‪#‎oecd‬ ‪#‎cop21‬ ‪#‎climatechange‬‪#‎climateconference‬

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OECD or Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international economic organisation of 34 countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members.

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