Philippines woos militant, moderate groups to link arms over climate change
Activists and moderates can make strange bedfellows.
But there is something different about Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza’s climate change-based campaign to convince groups like Haribon Philippines, a staunch anti-commercial logging advocate, to link arms with the Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA) whose members are made up of firms that conduct commercial logging activities.
On November 26, Atienza will bring these two organizations together, along with 200 other groups many of whom also carry opposite views on environmental and political issues - for a whole-day gathering dubbed “SALUGNAYAN” (Salo-salo at Ugnayan para sa Kalikasan).
Atienza will enlist their much-needed help to implement DENR’s programs aimed at cushioning the impacts of climate change.
Even progressive party-list group Akbayan will attend the activity along with moderate groups like the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) and KAGABAY (Kababaihan para kay Gloria at sa Bayan).
Atienza explained that “SALUGNAYAN” was an offshoot of his thrust to strengthen DENR’s efforts at strengthening its partnership with as many members of civil society as possible “through the spirit of volunteerism.”
The activity will be highlighted by a presentation of DENR’s recommended mitigation and adaptation options to climate change.
“The imperatives of climate change, particularly global warming, have become a catalyst of sorts for government and civil society to close ranks. SALUGNAYAN is one example of this which fuels our common effort to mitigate the impact of climate change, both on a personal and societal scale,” Atienza said.
Atienza expects that the open forum during the event will elicit animated and equally enlightening insights given the diversity of views held by the participants.
“This open forum will serve as venue for DENR’s partners and stakeholders to air their concerns and for me to explain my position on issues important to their agenda. I expect that in this forum, we can bridge whatever gaps that have existed between the DENR and its partners both in terms of policies and program implementation,” Atienza said.
A plenary workshop will be also held for the participants to agree on which specific areas of DENR’s priorities their organizations will adopt in their advocacy campaigns such as “Program Advocacy Champions” (PAC).
Specifically, these are PACs for upland and urban forestry, solid waste, coastal and marine management, responsible mining, biodiversity conservation, and clean air.