Press Release
December 16, 2009


COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 16 - Philippine Senator Loren Legarda today called on the world leaders and parliamentarians to act decisively on climate change to avoid fatal risks to humanity.

"The highly vulnerable countries like the small island states and the Philippines are now suffering irreversible losses and irreparable damage due to climate change," Loren said, in an address to a parliamentary conference here.

The conference is being held amidst the United Nations summit on climate change that would climax Friday with the attendance of 120 heads of state.

Addressing parliamentarians from all over the world, Loren urged them and the world leaders to support "early and drastic emission cuts."

Carbon emission from factories, motor vehicles and other human activities is believed mainly responsible for the pollution in the atmosphere that is causing global warming.

Loren also appealed to the world leaders to "bring adaptation technology to the developing world" which are the most vulnerable nations to climate change.

She urged the world governments to "legislate climate change responses that promote linkages of disaster risk reduction and adaptations."

Loren cited as an example the passage by the Philippine Congress of the Climate Change Act which she had sponsored in the Senate. The Act, signed recently into law by President Arroyo, creates a national commission that would create and implement programs to reduce the risks from extreme weather conditions brought about by climate change.

Loren, who is the UN regional champion for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Asia-Pacific, recalled that the Philippines had suffered unprecedented casualties and damages as a result of two recent typhoons that brought about floods and landslides.

"There is no more fitting time to say that reducing disaster risk and climate-proofing our livelihood and development gains and goals have become a moral imperative for governments and a social responsibility for all than now --- when having less in life means losing life," Loren told her fellow parliamentarians.

In calling for immediate action, she asserted that "Poverty and gender inequality, environmental degradation, rapid urbanization, and climate change, have all conspired to create enormous risks in our communities. They have constantly challenged our human capacity to cope. This must cease."

She also called for "a new brand of governance -- the kind of governance that ensures risk reduction laws and regulations are passed and implemented and that creates the necessary enabling environment to translate sustainable development strategies into practical and measurable gains ..."

Loren raised the need to promote risk awareness in communities and to increase national commitment to and investment in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for a safer and more sustainable future for all.

"I am particularly pleased to know how the parliamentarians have gone far to heed the Manila Call for Action," Loren said, referring to a resolution of the world parliamentarians during their meeting in Manila.

Loren made both opening and closing speeches to the parliamentarians' meeting.

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