Press Release
February 1, 2011

Legarda Urges Climate and Env't Stakeholders to Help Address PH's State
as Biodiversity and Climate Hotspot

Senator Loren Legarda today called on individuals and various groups concerned on the issue of environment protection and disaster risk reduction to help alleviate the country's current state as a biodiversity and climate change vulnerability hotspot.

Legarda, during her speech at the International Conference on Biodiversity and Climate Change, said that the country's biodiversity, which has been degrading due to man's development and economic activities, is also affected by climate change that is likely to cause the loss of thousands of species as well as changes in natural ecosystems.

"As the ill effects of global warming, increased precipitation and extreme weather events adversely affect the high concentration of species found endemically in our country, we as humans who are dependent on the very plants and animals that make up our natural ecosystems for livelihood and sustenance are directly affected as well," the Senator said.

"We cannot sit idly by as our fragile ecosystems are destroyed by unsustainable development practices and climate change. We must begin with addressing a more imminent issue - that of existing local and regional non-climate stresses our natural ecosystems are already facing. These stresses have more potential to be mitigated and managed more readily than climate change," she added.

Legarda explained that while several bills on environment protection and climate change are already pending in the Senate, various stakeholders, particularly those present in the conference, should provide insights to further enhance such legislative measures, which include: Senate Bill 1353 or the Sustainable Forest Management Act; Senate Bill 1370 or the Integrated Coastal Management Act; Senate Bill 1369 or the National Land Use Act; and Senate Bill 2558, which seeks to create a People's Survival Fund that would finance climate adaptation programs and projects.

"The ground level work and the parallel environmental initiatives at the Senate may not get screaming headlines. But they represent big, determined steps for the Filipinos and the rich biodiversity we thrive in," she said.

"Today we have an assembly of people from different countries, from government, non-government, higher educational institutions, academe and research community, civil society and private sector who are all here to exchange knowledge and devise strategies. We must use this opportunity not just to gain knowledge from one another, but to transform that knowledge into concrete actions. The minutes and the hours on the global environmental clock are ticking to sunset. We must all work together and forge a network of cooperation to reverse this," she concluded.

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