By: Jed Alegado

As one of the highly vulnerable countries from climate change, the Philippines leads a coalition of developing countries aiming to boost their fight against the worsening impacts of climate change at climate change talks in Paris that began on Dec. 1.

The group of 20 developing countries, eight of which come from Asia, have formed the Climate Vulnerability Forum (CVF). They are comprised of Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Maldives, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Timor-Leste, Barbados, Kenya, Tuvalu, Bhutan, Kiribati, Rwanda, Vanuatu, Costa Rica, Madagascar, Saint Lucia and Vietnam.

In his keynote speech, at the conference, known as the Congress of Parties, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III reiterated the country’s commitment to climate change efforts during one of the high-level meetings on the first day of the summit when world leaders and environmental ministers try to agree on a binding deal to lower global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. 

The United Nations-sponsored talks have been going on for 21 years with little to show for them, as the world’s mean temperatures continue to rise, leading to what climatologists fear will be increasingly violent weather events including typhoons, a heightened el Nino and violent storms.

“Even beyond such phenomena, we are all aware of how the discourse on development and inequality, within and among nations, is intertwined with climate change,” Aquino said at the Climate Vulnerable Forum. “Invariably, those who have the least bear most of the burden.”

Manila-Paris Declaration. 

The high-level Climate Vulnerability Forum has also launched the Manila-Paris Declaration signed by the leaders of the 20 member countries. The declaration was signed in Manila on Nov. 10 and was adopted on Nov. 30 in Paris. Among the key content is a call for more ambitious carbon emissions reduction targets. The document says: 

“Emphasizing that recent science, including the Structured Expert Dialogue of the UNFCCC 2013-2015 Review, sends a clear message that the current long-term temperature goal of holding global warming below 2° Celsius is inadequate and that it is essential that this target is strengthened towards a below 1.5°C goal”

Developing countries that are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change have been putting forth the “loss and damage mechanism” in the draft text being debated in the climate change negotiations. This mechanism seeks to make countries which have caused large amount of carbon emissions pay vulnerable countries especially those who were hit by strong climate-related disasters. 

Jed Alegado is a student at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands. He is also a climate tracker for Adopt A Negotiator (http://www.adoptanegotiator.org)