On World Environment Day: CCC urges collective action against ecological degradation

June 10, 2024 Monday

MANILA, 10 June 2024  The Climate Change Commission (CCC) emphasized the importance of collective action and solidarity to address ecological degradation and restore the health of Philippine ecosystems on the occasion of World Environment Day.

The CCC highlighted the urgency of involving all Filipinos in efforts to restore and protect the country’s natural resources, particularly its forests, wetlands, flat lands, and marine ecosystems. 

As one of the 18 mega-biodiverse countries in the world, the Philippines is home to a wide variety of biodiversity-nurturing ecosystems, such as wetlands, tree forests, mangrove forests, and coral reefs, which nurture between 70 and 80 percent of the world’s plant and animal species. 

These ecosystems are essential to the livelihoods of many Filipinos, supporting agriculture and aquaculture. However, the country faces several issues that contribute to ecosystem degradation, such as climate change, pollution, sea and land-use conversion, sea-level rise, illegal mining, deforestation, and droughts.

The aquaculture and agriculture sectors continue to face challenges. According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ Comprehensive Post-Harvest, Marketing, and Ancillary Industries Plan 2018-2022, factors such as the degradation of fishery habitats and climate change have caused a decline in the fishing sector in recent years. 

In 2023, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. raised concerns as the country continues to lose 457 tons of quality soil annually due to erosion and degradation.

Secretary Robert E.A. Borje, CCC Vice Chairperson and Executive Director, explained that the active involvement of all Filipinos in ecological and climate change issues allows climate plans to accumulate diverse perspectives, ultimately helping with the development of sustainable solutions.

Collective action on climate change and ecological protection and restoration is crucial for a sustainable and climate-smart Philippines. Involving everyone in the climate agenda ensures a whole of society approach to address climate change and ecological degradation. We need to work together to promote the development of long-term solutions and strengthen the resilience and cohesiveness of Filipino society in the face of climate change challenges,” he said.

Borje also noted that “engaging all sectors in climate action fosters ecological literacy and empowers Filipinos of all ages and backgrounds to contribute to sustainable practices, programs, initiatives, and policies.”

Borje also urged support for policies and programs under President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. meant to establish an enabling environment for a more climate resilient Philippines. 

The Philippines’ very first National Adaptation Plan (NAP) was completed under the Marcos Administration and submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. NAP identifies strategies to prevent the degradation of Philippine ecosystems and biodiversity. Similarly, the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 outlines strategies to protect the country’s natural resources through strengthened monitoring, protection, management, awareness-building, and rehabilitation.

President Marcos Jr. recently signed the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Act, aimed to enhance ecological balance and climate resilience through natural resource accounting. This law aligns the country's economic policies with sustainable practices to reflect the President's vision of a climate-smart and climate-resilient Philippines.

The CCC remains active in its efforts to support the country in protecting and restoring its natural resources and ecosystems. By proactively reviewing, advocating, and supporting pro-climate and pro-environment policies, the Commission aims to support the preservation of ecosystems, reduction of pollution, and sustainable management of natural resources to minimize degradation.

June 5 marks the annual celebration of World Environment Day. Led by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), World Environment Day raises awareness about environmental issues. This year’s theme, 'Our Land, Our Future. We are #GenerationRestoration,' focuses on addressing urgent issues of land degradation, desertification, and drought resilience.

For more information on the CCC’s climate mainstreaming activities, visit www.climate.gov.ph and www.facebook.com/CCCPhl.