APEC economies urged to integrate climate change issues in trade and investment plans

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 22 (PNA) — Delegates attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) disaster management forum on Tuesday called on the bloc’s 21 member economies to integrate its proposed framework for disaster risk reduction and climate change in their trade and investment plans and programs.

At the 9th Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum (SDMOF), Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the effects of disasters “cut across APEC concerns and priorities” because they cause “major disruptions” to trade relations, business, and investments in the Asia-Pacific region.

Gazmin, who chairs the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said the proposed framework seeks to address the effects and challenges posed by natural disasters and climate change in the region.

He noted that the forum’s primary goal is “to endorse to our economic leaders the proposed APEC framework on disaster risk as our new paradigm to mainstream disaster risk reduction in the APEC agenda”.

Gazmin said the framework will “promote APEC-wide collaboration on disaster risk by providing a common direction in order for economies to be more responsive to the new realities and serious threats and challenges posed by stronger and more frequent disasters.”

Addressing the effects of natural calamities and climate change will also stabilize APEC members’ economies, particularly the sector of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which comprises 65 percent of the Philippines’ labor force.

The aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) in 2013 saw the destruction of billions of pesos worth of properties and infrastructure, not to mention some 6,000 lives lost.

It also highlighted the dangers posed by natural disasters to the SME industry, which was the hardest industry hit in terms of financial losses.

“Our goal is for our respective economies to effectively incorporate disaster risk reduction in our economic agenda,” Emmanuel de Guzman, commissioner of the Climate Change Commission, said on behalf of Senator Loren Legarda.

The senator was unable to attend the forum, and had de Guzman deliver her opening remarks. Legarda is a United Nations champion for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

Gazmin said APEC leaders have committed themselves to strengthening disaster risk reduction mechanisms by “introducing innovations, developing policies, and organizing working bodies”, such as the Emergency Preparedness Working Group.

During the 8th Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum in Beijing last year, the APEC leaders also agreed to maximize the use of science and technology in crafting disaster risk reduction programs and climate change adaptation mechanisms, he added. (PNA)