Speeches & Transcripts

PHILIPPINES: Opening Remarks of World Bank Acting Country Director Maryse Gautier at the Roundtable Discussion on the World Development Report 2010

February 11, 2010

Maryse Gautier

As Prepared for Delivery

Roundtable Discussion on the World Development Report 2010:
Development and Climate Change

Opening Remarks by Maryse Gautier
Acting Country Director, World Bank Philippines

Pasig City, February 11, 2010

Atty. Lucille Sering, Commissioner of the newly created Climate Change Commission; Mr. Tony La Viña, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government; Mr. Mon Isberto, public affairs chief of Smart Communications; our partners in government, the private sector, civil society, the academe, ladies and gentlemen, good morning!

Welcome to the roundtable discussion on the World Development Report 2010 whose theme, “Development and Climate Change,” is a very timely one. It highlights the importance that the World Bank places on the issue of climate change in development, especially in countries wher poverty is still a major issue

As you know, the World Development Report, or WDR, is a key flagship report that the World Bank puts out annually in helping identify key challenges to global development. This year’s WDR 2010 warns that climate change will hurt developing countries the hardest. Its impacts pose special risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies, threatening and challenging poverty reduction efforts.

Taking on these immense threats must involve both mitigation — to avoid the unmanageable — and adaptation — to manage the unavoidable — all while maintaining a focus on the tasks’ social dimensions.

There is an urgent conversation locally and globally as to how best each sector of society can help address this global challenge. The Government of the Philippines has responded actively to the issue.

The Philippines accounts for only 0.27 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, it is heartening to note that the country is committed to pursue cost-effective solutions to reducing emissions. The emergence of new financing instruments—particularly the Carbon Partnership Facility and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), a joint initiative of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank—opens up the potential for developing broader mitigation programs in areas such as sustainable transport, renewable energy, and waste management.

The Government, with the support of many donors has taken actions, mostly in the area of capacity building and mitigation. Forty projects are now registered with the Clean development mechanism board, albeit of small volumes. Building on the experience of ongoing projects such as geothermal, wind, and wastewater projects, the World Bank will also support government programs and projects in power, transport, and waste management sectors.

Given the country’s vulnerability, the Philippines should focus its attention on adaptation and preparedness. World Bank support to adaptation measures will be through a combination of technical assistance and lending operations supported by several global climate change facilities, including the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Global Fund for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).

The GEF supports both climate change mitigation and adaptation activities, including support to the Philippines Climate Change Adaptation Project that will help develop and demonstrate climate change adaptation activities in the agriculture and the natural resources sectors. The GFDRR provides technical assistance to enhance the development of disaster risk management and climate change strategies and possibly the Disaster Risk Mitigation and Climate Change Adaptation Projects which will support the government’s efforts to integrate disaster risk and climate risk management in national and local development planning in areas such as agriculture and natural resource management.

These measures could be expanded to other vulnerable sectors or regions such as the coastal areas where an integrated coastal zone management approach could contribute to reducing vulnerability to natural disasters and other hazards while promoting sustainable livelihoods and reducing poverty.

The WDR is a welcome contribution to this conversation.

The World Development Report 2010 uniquely emphasizes development; takes an integrated look at adaptation and mitigation; highlights opportunities in the changing landscape and how to seize them, and proposes policy solutions grounded on analytic work and in the context of the political economy of reform.

We are fortunate to have with us in this morning’s roundtable discussion one of the main authors of WDR 2010, World Bank climate change specialist Alexander Lotsch. Alex will share with us critical insights into this very timely topic that concerns all of us today. With the level of his expertise on the topic of climate change, I am certain that we shall have a most enlightening and productive roundtable discussion.

Through this roundtable dialogue and other related events, the World Bank seeks to strengthen its commitment to addressing the issue of climate change globally and in the Philippines. In fact, one of the major strategic objectives of the Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) is reducing the country’s vulnerabilities from climate change, focusing on mitigation and adaptation.

I hope that you will find the discussions about the WDR useful, and that it can provide some suggestions for the country to go forward in the initiatives against the ill effects of climate change.

Once again, I would like to express our appreciation to you all for honoring us with your presence today. Good morning to everyone.