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article imageADB steps up drive to help nations vulnerable to climate change

By Lucky Malicay     Mar 18, 2016 in Environment
Cebu City - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is stepping up efforts to help Asia-Pacific countries vulnerable to natural calamities.
After signing project agreements with Papua New Guinea and Fiji, the ADB has offered the Philippines funds to support projects that address climate change.
“The ADB and the Philippines can partner on future projects,” said Preety Bhandari, director of the ADB Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, in a Philippine Star report. “The Philippines should specifically ask us at ADB for funding for climate investments in order for us to prioritize these.”
More than 7,000 people were killed or missing when Haiyan, the strongest typhoon ever recorded at landfall, ripped through the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, causing more than $2 billion damage to infrastructure and agriculture.
When former U.S. Vice President Al Gore visited the Philippines last week, he made a surprise trip to Typhoon Haiyan’s ground zero, lighting candles at a mass grave in the city of Tacloban.
Now a climate change activist, Gore told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that world leaders must commit to sign the Paris climate agreement at next month’s gathering at the United Nations.
“There is an overwhelming amount of hope that the Paris climate agreement could be a turning point towards a more resilient, low-carbon future,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. “While the deal is not enough by itself, it is a major step forward.”
At least 195 countries struck a deal in France in December 2015 calling for ways to help vulnerable counties against the worst impact of climate change.
The Manila-based ADB pledged last year to double to $6 billion by 2020 its yearly project financing in poor countries to lessen the effects of climate change, saying six out of 10 nations highly susceptible to environmental disasters are in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Nowhere is tackling climate change more critical than in Asia and the Pacific, where rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and weather extremes like floods and droughts are damaging livelihoods and taking far too many lives," ADB President Takehiko Nakao said.
Of the amount, $4 billion will be intended for programs raising support for renewable energy, building smart cities and sustainable transport. The rest will be for infrastructure development, climate-resilient agriculture as well as for preparations for climate-associated calamities.
In January, the regional development bank approved a $24.25 million grant to Papua New Guinea for climate change programs in the country’s vulnerable areas on at least 21 islands.
Last month, the ADB and the government of Fiji signed a $2 million agreement for relief operations in communities ravaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston.
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