By Freddie Lazaro
Senator Loren Legarda is looking forward to stronger cooperation between the Philippines and France to mitigate the effect of climate change and expand areas of development as the two nations commemorate 70 years of diplomatic relations.
Legarda, who chairs the Senate committees on foreign relations, finance, and climate change, cited the importance of Philippine’s partnership with France which has substantially complemented the nation’s efforts in addressing current global challenges.
Legarda, a founding member of the Philippines-France Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Association, said that in recent years, the two nations have forged a stronger partnership.
In 2012, then French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited the Philippines. It was the first visit by a French head of government to the country. It was followed by the visit of President Benigno Aquino III to France in 2014, and in 2015, French President Francois Hollande’s state visit to the Philippines. Last January, a French Parliamentary delegation, headed by Senator Gérard Miquel, visited the Philippines.
“These interactions resulted in enhanced partnership between our two nations, most especially increased economic cooperation and political consultation, and continued partnership in the areas of climate change and sustainable development; there have also been many opportunities for cooperation in cultural and heritage preservation,” said Legarda.
The senator added that the two nations are partners in climate action.
During former French President Hollande’s state visit to the Philippines, the issue of climate change was a priority agenda. A forum on climate change, the launch of a joint statement on climate action, and visit to Yolanda-affected communities in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, were among the highlights of that visit.
Legarda, together with Nicolas Hulot, then Special Envoy for the Protection of the Planet and now Minister of Ecological Transition and Solidarity, helped craft the 2015 Manila Call to Action for Climate Change, which was signed by then Presidents Hollande and Aquino, and was read by the Senator side by side with French actress Marion Cotillard in Malacañang.
The senator was also invited as the Philippines’ representative to the Summit of Consciences for the Climate in France in 2015. She afterward launched a similar summit the same year at the Philippine Senate.
“I thank the French Government for rallying nations to craft and support the Paris Agreement on Climate Change… We are facing challenges in the implementation of the Agreement but with the strong commitment of nations, especially the industrialized countries such as France, we are optimistic we can meet our goals.”
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