QUEZON CITY (MindaNews / May 29) — Last March, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security released a paper on the impacts of climate change on women stating: “The areas of climate change and Women, Peace and Security (WPS) are often viewed as separate from each other. other. The sooner we recognize that they are closely related, the sooner we can take synergistic action.
“Unimportant UN Security Council Resolution 1325 formalizes the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The WPS agenda emphasizes the important role of women in addressing security threats, and calls for women’s equal participation in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding efforts. Climate change is increasingly recognized as a security threat. It promotes insecurity both through direct negative impacts on environmental systems and through secondary risks such as political instability, population displacement, poverty, and hunger. Despite this fact, only about one in four WPS National Action Plans makes direct reference to climate. For the most effective response to the security threats posed by climate change, we must leverage frameworks such as the WPS Agenda to identify the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and the security threats it poses. The WPS agenda also offers a valuable tool for ensuring meaningful women’s participation in climate interventions.”
Clearly, the impacts of climate change are not gender neutral. Our guest on “He Speaks Peace,” Maria Paz “Ipat” Luna, totally agrees. Ipat, former Deputy Secretary of the DENR, has been involved in the practice of environmental law and policy for three decades. He has managed several foundations and organizations for environmental conservation, built local consensus on important policy decisions affecting natural resources and habitats, particularly in protected areas and published many works in this area. He has also assisted in drafting various public health policies. He is a member of the Worldwide Environmental Law Alliance (ELAW). He is an advisory member of the Global Justice Transition Project organized by Foreign Policy in Focus. He has been described as “a naturalist – a native tree enthusiast, bird watcher and trained rescue diver.” He has created a sanctuary in Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas, on the shores of Taal Lake with native flora. Originally intended as a home away from Manila, she and her husband Howie Severino welcome guests, sharing peace and ecological practices with them. He even built earthen houses – like his own Hobbit house.
Acknowledging that the climate crisis is an existential threat in our time, Ipat agrees, climate change is having a disproportionate impact on women who are 14 times more likely than men to die in natural disasters.
He is currently the Party Chair of the Gerry Roxas Foundation’s INSPIRE Projects which will provide grants and establish the Conservation Academy over the next five years. The Academy of Conservation provides grants that can help CSOs build capacity, support civil society collaboration and lobby government to address environmental protections when development is rampant. Civil society is an important part of bio-regional defense. He said that we have little chance of shoring up defense but we need governments to be proactive on climate change and environmental protection.
But will the Marcos-Duterte Government be proactive? Future Vice President Sara Duterte, when she was Mayor of Davao City, reiterated her commitment to sustainable development and environmental preservation by establishing the Davao City Climate Change Commission (DCCC) by executive order in 2021. What has happened since then? And more importantly: will he continue the agenda for the next six years, supporting
policy and program reforms that create a peaceful balance between economic development and the environment.
Ipat shared his agenda for the next government. First, sustainable food and water security. This will include soil conservation, forest restoration, priorities in government “build, wake up, wake up” projects. Support the protection of our watersheds, such as the Masungi Reserve run by the Dumaliangs (He Speaks of Peace Episode 38). Second, rationalize or reform the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, creating a separate agency that protects the environment and preserves our natural resources. Ipat believes that DENR is schizophrenic, managing the extraction and protection of our resources. Thus, checks and balances are almost impossible to do in DENR. Third, proactive action on climate change is essential. So far, the government has only provided lip service to this existential threat. For example, the government declared a climate emergency but passed laws did nothing to address the threat.
Ipat emphasized that “the earth will be here for a very, very long time, but our place on earth is in danger.” He believes youth is our hope. The older generation may be complacent but the younger ones – like Greta Thunberg – have gone the distance, filing cases against their own government, in defense of the environment. They are inventive people who have stopped buying cars, preferring eco-friendly bicycles. The older generation must listen to them and we must “make decisions on their behalf, while we are still in a position to do so.”
Listen to Ipat’s story about why many young people don’t want to get married and have children. Please Click, Play and Listen
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Amina Rasul is President of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, an advocate for Mindanao and Bangsamoro, peace, human rights, and democracy)