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Gov’t readies incentives certification system for firms promoting green jobs

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By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Climate Change Commission is now developing the standards and certification system in line with the incentives for businesses and enterprises which are promoting green jobs.

Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman of the Climate Change Commission revealed at the High-level Dialogue: More Quality Jobs in Asia and the Pacific: Investing for a Just Transition, a sideline event of the ADB meetings here in Manila, that the new system is now being developed after the issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Green Jobs Act in September last year.

To this end, De Guzman said that the Commission, together with the International Labor Organization (ILO), has conducted a series of multi-stakeholder roundtable consultations on green jobs and just transition, effectively raising awareness on green jobs and promoting convergence among key stakeholders across all sectors.

Pursuant to the law, he said, the Commission is also currently updating the National Climate Change Action Plan to incorporate the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan and the Nationally Determined Contributions or NDC.

The NDC serves as the country’s new industrial policy and investment agenda. It is expected to generate jobs several magnitudes greater than if businesses stick to failed and failing carbon-intensive, unreliable, and increasingly far more expensive business-as-usual pathways.

“We assure you that the pursuit of green jobs and just transition is a primary consideration in our policy development and planning processes and is articulated well in our NDC to be submitted to UNFCCC this year,” he said. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

In implementing the NDC, the commission recognizes that the transformative role and climate actions of the private business sector are crucial.

“It is in this context we call on the private sector to stop making bets on an unsustainable future and focus investing on green and climate-friendly ventures,” De Guzman said.

Recognizing the role of public and private banks in catalyzing green investments, the Commission has also embarked on promoting green banking and climate financing within the country’s financial sector.

Through dialogues, the government is increasing the awareness and appreciation among financial institutions of how they can integrate climate adaptation and mitigation criteria in their operations and services.

All these efforts, he said, is in light of the prevailing and imminent threats of climate change and environmental degradation in the region and it is imperative for national governments to pursue low-carbon and green economic development  while ensuring a just transition that maximizes the benefits for all sectors of society.

“Here in the Philippines, our mantra is that no sector should be left behind. We deem it critical to invest in social preparation for the transformation of all sectors towards low-carbon development,” De Guzman stressing that a well-managed transition to environmentally and socially sustainable economies can become a strong driver of decent job creation, job upgrading, social justice, and poverty reduction — which are all crucial in the pursuit of inclusive and sustainable growth. However, responding to a challenge that entails a major paradigm shift is not an easy endeavor.

But the post-2015 global development frameworks — the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change — guide the national government in setting enabling policies and programs and in paving the way for our transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient development.

For instance, the Philippine Green Jobs Act was enacted in April 2016 to scale up the promotion of sustainable growth and decent job creation while building resilience against climate change impacts.

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