UNDP-DoF-Canada Showcase Pathbreaking Initiatives for Gender-Responsive Climate Finance in the Philippines at COP28

December 11, 2023


Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 2023: In a bid to confront the pressing challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines in partnership with the Department of Finance (DoF) - and with the generous support of the Government of Canada - convened a pivotal side event titled "Reducing the climate finance gap with gender-responsive nature-based solutions" at the COP 28 Philippines Pavilion. This is part of the project Accelerating Green and Climate Finance in the Philippines: Nature-based solutions. 

The event sought to address the urgent need for innovative financial policy initiatives in the Philippines with a focus on gender-responsive nature-based solutions. Nature-based solutions, proven to offer substantial emission reductions and multifaceted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) benefits, still face underfunding. To bridge this gap, the panel discussed leveraging policy and market mechanisms to engage the private sector in implementing these solutions. 

The Philippines’ Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, delivering an impassioned keynote, emphasized the imperative of closing the climate finance gap with gender-responsive nature-based solutions. He highlighted that: "A large inflow of green and climate finance must be marshaled to enable the country to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets to limit the rise in global temperatures and establish strong climate adaptation and mitigation systems." Secretary Diokno further stressed the urgent need for significant green and climate finance influx to meet the country's NDC targets and mitigate climate impacts, especially on vulnerable groups, notably women and economically marginalized sectors. 

Secretary Diokno also highlighted the country's initiatives to integrate gender-responsive approaches into climate efforts, including the People's Survival Fund (PSF) and support to various international collaborations including the Gender Action Plan of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

Global Affairs Canada Climate Finance Executive Director Andrew Hurst underscored how women, girls, and other marginalized groups are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. However, he noted that “...they can be very important agents of change in their own communities and countries. And if we don't tap into that potential, then we are losing out on innovative solutions and inclusive arrangements..." Mr. Hurst further emphasized that Canada works with regional development banks to encourage private sector partners to integrate gender equality targets in their initiatives, for example, hiring women in the renewable energy sector, where women workers are traditionally underrepresented.  

The panel, moderated by UNDP Philippines' Climate Action Programme Team Leader Floradema Eleazar, featured distinguished speakers representing key Philippine government bodies, financial regulators, and climate finance experts. Discussions centered on policy developments regarding climate finance and nature-based solutions and sustainability reporting. Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources highlighted the Philippines' ongoing formulation of the blue economy roadmap, blue carbon economy, carbon policy regulatory framework, and carbon pricing policy within emission trading systems and voluntary markets. Meanwhile, Director Rachel Gumtang-Remalante from the Securities and Exchange Commission underscored the SEC's pivotal role in driving sustainability reporting among publicly listed companies since 2019. Recently, they introduced the Sustainability Reporting (SuRe) Form to standardize reporting, striving for uniformity, consistency, and comparability of data. The SEC emphasizes data availability's importance and intends to integrate gender and climate finance investment information into the reporting framework.  

Furthermore, the panel discussion highlighted how gender-responsive climate solutions can be integrated into international climate negotiations and the importance of meaningful stakeholder participation in implementing climate actions. Leah Pedersen, Senior Director of Market Acceleration and Design Innovation of Convergence, shared how they embed gender responsiveness into all their funding and grant processes, acknowledging the importance of transforming communities to enable women, who are most affected by climate transition. In Asia, they see potential in social forestry/agroforestry models that address justice issues and transform communities while impacting climate finance.

The recently launched Call for Ideas for the Philippines Stream of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance in partnership with CPI was highlighted as one of the means that can catalyze private sector finance for gender-responsive NBS. In addition, Director Tiza Mafira of CPI Indonesia emphasized how the Lab has mobilized USD4 billion in emerging markets for climate action, with 41% coming from private sector investment. She highlighted the unique role of public finance, focusing on impact metrics like gender inclusion, not merely meeting quotas but empowering women economically.

In collaboration with the DoF, the Government of Canada, and other partners, UNDP is dedicated to fostering inclusive and impactful innovative nature-based solutions, echoing the call for climate justice where no one is left behind.