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The Climate Change Politics: The 2nd RAFI Understanding Choices Forum

Climate Change is not just an environmental issue but has grown into a much global problem that mirrors the inadequacies, loopholes and ineffectiveness of our laws and regulations. Thus, our world leaders try to address this crisis in the most diplomatic means possible. Even if we all aim for one goal which is to create a better world, we need to understand each others traditions, culture, and laws in order for us to paddle our way into one direction. But sadly, these processes can be daunting and disappointing at times.

The Global Climate Politics” is the theme for the second Understanding Choices Forum organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), which aims to provide a venue for idea sharing and education to the key people from the government, civil society and the private sector. It was refreshing to see familiar faces talk again and this time about the legal processes behind this dilemma that is affecting third world countries like the Philippines.

Atty. Tony La Viña, Ateneo School of Government Dean, talked about the convention in Berlin, how the US did not join the Kyoto Protocol and how the world leaders will convene once again in Cancun, Mexico for another round of negotiations.

“Climate Change is real and there are global efforts to address it,” Atty. La Viña says. “Leadership should come from developed countries. That is why China and US have this issue on who should take leadership.”

He also talked about how the Copenhagen last year, after 12 exhausting days and 192 countries engaging in dialogue, all ended in a failure. It was supposed to deal with forestry, adaptation and technology transfers and he had a first hand account of the whole process as a member of the Philippine delegation. In our country, he says, we have laws that were passed after we were devastated by the wrath that is Ondoy and Pepeng. Disaster Management Act and some other decrees started protecting our environment but in itself has become problematic. Disaster management should be handled at a local level which makes sense for an archipelagic country with difficulties in logistics and response.

“It’s very sexy to attack rich countries, to tell people to reduce emissions. But if we face the real problems, it makes sense to do something about it,” he encourages the audience to not only stir the spirit for revolutionizing but as well as mobilizing them to be part of something or call an action.

The next speaker was the young Ms. Esperanza Garcia who exuded this dynamism with her extensive experience in national and global leadership as Director for the International Youth Council. Basically, she talked about her work. She organized her talk with four principles that have guided her life while at the same time incorporating the experiences she had with every event she attended to. She tells us (1) Believe in yourself; (2) Follow your dreams; (3) Don’t forget where you’re from and (4) Value partnerships.

She also reads the data from the UN study that ranks our country as 8th with the most lives lost and properties damaged due to climate change related disasters. But the irony is that we only contribute less than a percent in the world’s total gas emissions. That is why IIac Diaz of MyShelter Foundation encourages disaster-resilient communities through his globally-recognized innovative architectural designs that can withstand typhoons and droughts. His designs were presented in the first Understanding Choices forum.

Esperanza also tells the story of how she started Climate Change Youth Movement after being inspired by former US President, Bill Clinton who brought together 150 heads of state and thousands of CEOs to do something at the Clinton Global Initiative since talking about it was just not enough.

About Understanding Choices Forums

The Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center in Cebu City became the venue for awareness and inspiring action among stakeholders in the society. Understanding Choices forum is a Knowledge Sharing capability of RAFI and the second part was held last November 15, 2010.

This article is written by Jaysee Pingkian.


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