This was the best description of Atty. Antonio Gabriel M. La Viña, an environmental policy expert from Ateneo de Manila University, during the seventh seminar series of SESAM ExChanges last December 2, 2022 via Zoom and Facebook Live.
SESAM ExChanges is a seminar series on environmental challenges and solutions. This is initiated by the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) of the School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB). More than 100 participants attended this virtual seminar.
Atty. La Viña, who is one of the attendees of the Conference of Parties (COP) 27. The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP 27, was the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference, held from 6 November until 20 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. COP 27 aims to build on previous successes and paving the way for future ambition to effectively tackle the global challenge of climate change.
“There is a need to highlight what is our collective understanding on climate change and what exactly our next steps to translate it to concrete actions” said Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dean of SESAM, during the opening program of SESAM ExChanges. For her part, For. Sofia A. Alaira, Head of CETD-SESAM, said that SESAM is fortunate to have a well-known environmental expert and advocate in Attorney La Viña, to talk on the aftermath of COP 27.
In his lecture entitled “COP 27: What’s in it for the Philippines”, Atty. La Viña said that COP 27 was the most successful because they were able to establish after 30 years a loss and damage funding arrangement. “It’s a done deal, way beyond expectations of anyone that was following this before going to COP”, said Atty. La Viña.
Currently the Associate Director for Climate Policy and International Relations of the Manila Observatory, Atty. La Viña mentioned that ironically COP 27 was also one of the most successful ever for fossil-fuel producing countries and companies. “We cannot make progress in reduction in emissions while the Ukraine-Russia war is going on, and there is an energy crisis in the world, it’s just too sensitive an issue, no matter how hard you push, you will not be able to have a lot of traction. However, they were able to have a traction for climate justice, and overall it was a good COP,” Atty. La Viña stressed.
In his synthesis and closing remarks, Dr. Antonio P. Contreras, Professor, SESAM admired the wealth of experience of Atty. La Viña since attending COP 1. He said that indeed the COP 27 was a milestone because of the establishment of the loss and damage agreement, but he also pointed out the importance of surviving the challenges ahead as well as the importance of fine-tuning needed to properly implement this in the future.