Members, Our Voice, Statements

Statement delivered by H.E. Benjamin Diokno, Secretary of Finance, Philippines

Statement delivered by H.E. Benjamin Diokno, Secretary of Finance, Philippines


16 April 2023

H.E. Benjamin Diokno, Secretary of Finance, Philippines (Pre-recorded Intervention)

Distinguished colleagues,

Dear guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good day.

In the recent Asia-Pacific Regional Public Debt Management Forum, conducted by the Asian Development Bank, our national debt managers came together to discuss the current challenges in the region. This includes recent trends and issues such as increased uncertainty in the global financial markets, higher debt levels in member countries, heightened geopolitical risk, global monetary tightening, and persistent inflation due to supply chain disruptions, causing a surge in prices. 

We must strike a balance between achieving sustainable and resilient economic development and addressing the intensifying climate crisis, which has compounded the complexities of managing public debt and market policies. Financing climate options should not be seen as a competing priority. Rather, it should be treated as an indispensable part of economic growth and development. 

Developing and climate-vulnerable countries bear witness to the indispensable role of finance and the international finance system in climate action. Climate change adaptation is an urgent priority for the Philippines. For this, we rally to pursue concrete actions in addressing, minimizing, and averting loss and damage, specifically loss and damages experienced due to climate change. 

The Philippines recognizes the importance of transparency, accessibility, predictability, and efficiency in climate finance to deliver concrete projects, programs, and initiatives. We must reinvent and revolutionize the way we produce, distribute, and consume as a society. While we understand the essence of implementing prudent debt management policies in operations, local communities on the ground face adverse effects of intensifying climate risk and hazards. When disaster strikes, it is the poor that suffer the most.

We need to work on merging existing financial mechanisms with the scientific evidence of climate change. In a nutshell, the amount of climate finance towards climate change mitigation and adaptation actions should correspond to the needs of developing and climate-vulnerable countries. This need should reflect both the economic and non-economic losses and damages from climate change and incorporate much-needed investments for the expected increase in climate and disaster risk. 

Governments and regulators should continue to have an increasing role in providing a conducive environment for the private sector and the general public to collaborate and expand climate initiatives. This collaboration will bolster our climate agenda and advance a financial architecture that is truly fit-for-climate and development-positive. 

The rising market interest in environment, social, and governance or ESG investing should be sustained and encouraged by regulators to promote a whole of society approach towards climate action. Together we must raise our collective ambitions and respond to the climate crisis with urgency, speed, and scale. The Philippines eagerly awaits the concrete collective actions born out of these discussions.

Thank you.