EU pledges 60 million euros for PH path to ‘green economy’
MANILA, Philippines — The European Union (EU) is providing 60 million euros ($66.2 million or P3.6 billion) to help the Philippines’ transition to a “green economy” through environment protection and climate change mitigation.
The grant was among the issues discussed during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s meeting with European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen in Malacañang on Monday.
Both leaders witnessed the signing of the Joint Declaration of the Green Economy Program, which aims to support the Philippines’ journey to a “sustainable future.”
“On the development cooperation, we committed to conclude an agreement for the Green Economy Program in the Philippines (GEPP), a grant worth 60 million euros, which aims to support the Philippines in areas such as circular economy, renewable energy, and climate change mitigation,” Marcos said.
“We are also joining forces to fight climate change,” said von der Leyen in a post on Twitter shortly after the signing of the agreement.
Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga represented the Philippines in the sealing of the deal, while Ambassador Luc Veron, head of the delegation of the EU to the Philippines, signed on behalf of the commission.
Marcos said the agreement was in line with the GEPP, a flagship project of the EU’s Global Gateway.
According to a statement issued by the Presidential Communications Office, both sides have agreed to sign a financing agreement “in the near future” to formalize the cooperation on the GEPP.
Through the GEPP, the two sides agreed to sustain green infrastructure development, trade, and investments, including private sector engagement in green and sustainability measures in urban areas and micro, small, and medium enterprises in the country.
The GEPP will “support the Philippines’ transition to a green economy by mobilizing additional funding from European Union member states, European financial institutions, and the European private sector to support the Green Economy Transition while generating local value, quality and decent jobs, and lasting growth.”
To implement this, both the Philippine government and the European Commission also agreed to sustain technical education and skills development to enhance human capital and build a skilled “green” workforce capable of driving sustainable development in the Philippines.
Both sides also agreed on sharing information on best practices and innovations toward improving resource use efficiency, minimizing waste generation, and scaling up renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The joint declaration added that there should be “investments in climate change adaptation, mitigation, and environmental protection measures, including development and transfer of green technologies and innovations,” among other relevant cooperation areas which may be later agreed upon.
“Toward this end, the European Union will provide grant support in the form of technical assistance as deemed necessary to support the implementation of the GEPP, small-scale grants (to civil society organizations, business associations and incubators), equipment and infrastructure,” the joint declaration read.
The joint declaration also stated initiatives under the GEPP “will insure inclusivity and promote gender equality, and seek to empower people living in vulnerable conditions.”
Tackling plastic waste
According to the European Commission, the Team Europe Initiative on Green Economy will develop an industry-led alternative to the plastic waste management approach to achieve more sustainable plastic value chains and a reduction of plastic waste and marine litter.
“In close cooperation with the Philippines authorities, the initiative will help to develop a circular economy policy, in particular tackling plastic waste, to complement the national strategy to combat marine litter,” the EC said.
The circular economy is defined as a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended and waste is minimized.