The Philippines has secured P189 million in grants from the European Union (EU) under its SWITCH-Asia Program to fund projects aimed at promoting cleaner and more energy efficient industrial production in one of Asia’s rapidly transforming economies.
Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Manuel Gerochi said the financial aid will formally put into implementation the EU’s environment program to help accelerate the country’s shift toward sustainable consumption and production (SCP).
The DENR chairs the steering committee for the implementation of SWITCH-Asia in the Philippines, while the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) are key partners.
SWITCH-Asia Program is a regional grant facility funded by the EU. Its goal is to “contribute to green growth, poverty reduction and climate change mitigation in Asia,” specifically by promoting sustainable modes of consumption and production.
According to Gerochi, the program serves as “an opportunity to reverse the trend of economic development at the cost of the environment through better practices in production and consumption, especially by shifting to producing goods and offering services in an environmentally sustainable manner and patronizing those with less adverse environmental impact.”
The EU noted that the Philippines was recognized for having adopted a comprehensive SCP legal framework, but it is challenged with curbing existing practices and shifting towards new modes of production and consumption.
It added that the country also had several key laws, but their full and effective implementation were hampered with structural and budgetary constraints.
Under SWITCH-Asia, technical assistance and training will be provided to concerned government agencies for the effective enforcement of relevant SCP-based laws.
Focus will be on the Renewable Energy and Biofuel Acts for clean energy, in partnership with the DOE; green procurement and eco-labeling in selected government agencies and local government units; and the Clean Air Act, in partnership with the DENR.
The program started in July 2012 and will remain operational until December 2016. To date, the project has already seen preparatory activities such as coordination and consultation meetings with officials and stakeholders, data collection, identification of training activities, and review of related project framework and activities.
Results of the project will be regularly monitored and evaluated by the EU, which will then make the necessary adjustments in the implementation.
The program aims to promote good governance in the implementation of existing environmental laws, contribute to climate change mitigation, and reduce other negative impacts of industrial production on the environment.
The Philippines is one of four pilot countries receiving financial assistance under the program, along with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.