FILM: Following the Green Law Makers
Nick Rance of tve: Television Trust for the Environment introduces a new film for the Global Legislators Organisation on climate action, and the links between national ambition and the international climate debate.
It’s early May and we are in Catanduanes, an Island off the Philippines east coast. A group of people wearing shorts and sunglasses are wading ankle deep along a muddy shoreline. They stop to inspect what appear to be sticks thrust into the mud and then engage in heated debate. Neither locals, nor tourists The casually dressed group of women and men are actually members of the Philippines House of Representatives and they have come to Catanduanes to see for themselves if the Philippines’ forest conservation laws are delivering progress on the ground.
Congresswoman Susan Yap chairs the Philippine government’s Reforestation Committee and she is here with Congressmen Sarmiento and Yu to find out what progress is being made to replant and rehabilitate the island’s mangroves and forests to create a green buffer against an increasing number of damaging typhoons.Earlier, in an interview in the House of Representatives, Yap had explained the importance of getting out from the seat of government to find out what was happening on the ground “As a legislator it is my duty to make sure that government projects are implemented well. The reforestation committee should not be bound by the four concrete walls here in Congress but to see the ground work in the field.”
But she also hoped that the site visit could help inject a sense of urgency to the legislative proceedings in Congress. “We have the mangrove conservation bill, the forestry limits act and the sustainable forest management act and these three bills have been pending in Congress for some time so with a trip to Catanduanes it will give a more urgent appeal to my colleagues here that it’s about time we pass this in Congress.
The package of laws on forest protection is part of the Philippine government’s response to the more frequent and more damaging impacts of climate change. It fits into a growing trend of national environmental legislation to counter international environmental threats and of national legislators reaching out to the international community to help develop domestic laws on climate and sustainable development.
Susan Yap also chairs the Philippine chapter of the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE International), a worldwide network of parliamentarians advocating for action on climate change and sustainable development. Yap is clear about the benefits of a global network for national law makers to help deliver domestic climate and natural resources legislation. “I believe that Globe can assist a country like the Philippines in communicating within the international community and set up the framework for local legislators, domestic legislators, in the international community, we can find solutions and partnerships for having a low carbon green economy in the Philippines.”
Globe International’s 2nd World Summit of Legislators, the world’s largest conference of parliamentarians, took place in Mexico City 6 – 8 June.
View the full film:
Image ‘The Manila Call for Action’, courtesy of UN ISDR (Flickr).