The nexus between trade, development, and the environment was front and center at the Foreign Service Institute’s Mabini Dialogue “The Intersection of Development, Climate, Environment, and Trade Imperatives: Saan Tayo, Pilipinas?” held in partnership with the Philippine Mission to the World Trade Organization on 5 July 2023 at the Carlos P. Romulo Library.

The Mabini Dialogue featured a comprehensive presentation by Atty. Vicente Paolo Yu III based on his policy research paper titled “Strategic Considerations for Philippine Engagement in Global Trade, Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability.” Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the World Trade Organization Ambassador Manuel A.J. Teehankee delivered an introduction to the paper and fielded questions with Atty. Yu in the open forum.

Atty. Vicente Paolo Yu III and Ambassador Manuel A.J. Teehankee address comments and questions during the open forum.

During his presentation, Atty. Yu emphasized the interconnected challenges of climate change, economic development, and international trade. He underscored the need for a whole-of-government approach and whole-of-society consensus in pursuing green industrial policies and achieving sustainable economic diversification to address these challenges effectively. He expressed optimism regarding the potential of the Philippines to lead in domestic production and innovation of green technologies, which can stimulate both domestic and international demand.

The Philippines’ proactive stance in adopting green-oriented economic policies, evident through the enactment of several pro-environment and sustainable development laws since 2006, was also emphasized during the paper presentation. These legislative measures serve as guiding principles for the country’s transition toward a low-carbon, sustainable development economy. Notably, they promote the adoption of renewable energy technologies and advocate for a strategic approach that includes a well-balanced combination of fiscal assistance, fiscal incentives, technical support, and educational programs focused on upskilling.

During the open forum, Atty. Yu and Amb. Teehankee engaged in discussions addressing various topics. These included multilateral, unilateral, regional, and bilateral dialogues concerning climate change. They also underscored implementing effective environmental, social, and governance frameworks within the private and public sectors. The participants further discussed the progress of the Philippines’ implementation of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the country’s Paris Agreement commitments. Atty. Yu said that fulfilling the Philippines’ NDCs included developing green technology capacities in the country.

Government officials pose for a photograph after the program. From left to right: Mr. Richard Emerson Ballester (Assistant Director, NEDA), Mr. Ferdinand Ortilla (Economist, DOF), Ms. Raissa Faminial (Senior Trade Industry Development Specialist, DTI-BITR), Ms. Nadine Rosario Morales (Acting Director – Division 2, DFA-UNIO), Mr. Albert Magalang (Chief, DENR Environmental Management System), Mr. Jose Victor V. Chan-Gonzaga (Assistant Secretary, DFA Office of American Affairs), Amb. Ma. Teresita C. Daza (Director-General, FSI), Atty. Vicente Paolo Yu III (speaker, international trade and climate policy expert), Amb. Manuel A.J. Teehankee (Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the World Trade Organization), Ret. Amb. Jaime Bautista (Chairperson, Philippine Council for Foreign Relations), Ms. Nieva Natural (Director, NEDA Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environment Staff), Mr. Ricardo Toquero (Economist, DOF), Mr. Edwin S. Estrada (Head, FSI Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies), Ms. Kareen Hope Eltagon (Trade Industry Development Specialist, DTI-BITR), Shaira Steffany Granada (Trade Industry Development Specialist, DTI-BITR).

Participants of the event included officers and staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Finance, Department of Energy, Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of International Trade Relations, National Economic Development Authority, Government Procurement Policy Board, and the Climate Change Commission.

Atty. Vicente Paolo Yu III receives a certificate of appreciation from FSI Director-General Ma. Teresita C. Daza. They are joined by Ambassador Manuel A.J. Teehankee.