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DOF actively champions gender-responsive solutions to close the climate finance gap

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES––Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno has affirmed that the Department of Finance (DOF) is actively championing the use of gender-responsive nature-based solutions to close the climate finance gap during a high-level panel discussion on December 4, 2023.

Held on the sidelines of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the event was organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines and with support from the Government of Canada to address the urgent need for innovative financial policy initiatives in the Philippines with a focus on gender-responsive nature-based solutions.

“Recognizing this, the Philippines’ Department of Finance actively supports the mainstreaming of gender initiatives in the mobilization of resources for climate adaptation and mitigation programs,” Secretary Diokno said in his keynote speech.

He cited three key elements of gender-responsive climate action.

First is recognizing that women and men have differentiated needs and opportunities in climate action, which can be addressed through the collection of sex-disaggregated data to help the government identify underlying inequalities that worsen vulnerability.

Second is ensuring the equitable, active, and meaningful participation of both women and men in climate-related decision-making, program implementation, and impact monitoring.

Third is securing gender-equitable access to the benefits of climate finance and climate programs.

The Finance Chief shared that the Philippines has made significant strides in integrating these key elements into its climate efforts.

The People’s Survival Fund (PSF), chaired by Secretary Diokno, is a prime model for gender-responsiveness as it is managed by a multi-sectoral Board wherein women and girls are amply represented through the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).

Moreover, its criteria for approval takes into account the responsiveness of a project to gender-differentiated vulnerabilities to climate change.

“The Fund supports game-changing projects that elevate the role of women in building climate resilience. Among these are the mangrove rehabilitation project, the development of the agroforestry industry, and the establishment of climate resiliency field schools,” Secretary Diokno said.

The Fund was established 11 years ago to empower local government units (LGUs), as well as local and community organizations to craft nature-based climate adaptation projects.

The DOF also supported the Accelerating Green and Climate Finance in the Philippines for Nature-Based Solutions Project, which aims to increase the climate resilience of the Philippine population and economy by mobilizing private sector investments into gender-responsive nature-based solutions for climate-resilient technology, innovations, practices, and approaches. It was launched in 2022 with financial support from the Government of Canada.

On top of these, the Philippines has been promoting gender-responsive solutions in its international climate negotiations. This includes the development of a Gender Action Plan with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); the Philippines’ submission of its Nationally-Determined Contribution (NDC); and the finalization of the country’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP).

“If we fail our women and girls, climate action will fall short,” Secretary Diokno said.

“[C]limate justice can only be attained when no one is left behind,” he added.

In his remarks, Andrew Hurst, Executive Director of Climate Finance at Global Affairs Canada shared that Canada has previously announced that it would be doubling its climate finance commitment or assistance to developing countries to US$ 5.3 billion, which will run through to 2026. According to him, 80 percent of the projects Canada will fund integrate gender equality principles.

Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, Undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); Rachel Gumtang-Remalante, Corporate Governance and Finance Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); Leah Pedersen, Senior Director of Market Acceleration and Design Innovation at Convergence; and Tiza Mafira, Director of the Climate Policy Initiative Indonesia served as panelists for the event.

UNDP Climate Action Programme Team Leader Floradema Eleazar moderated the panel discussion.