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VIVAT International Philippines: Webinar and Amendments 

VIVAT International Philippines in particular is doing some amendments in order to have a participative decision making process and a better organizational structure. The National Executive Team (NET) officers presented the amendments to the National Board of Directors in the meeting held this month headed by the chairman of the national board, Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD. The amendments that were presented and approved were the following: First, the composition of National Board of Directors (NBOD) – it was modified and approved from nine (9) members to have all provincial and regional superiors of the member congregations to be part of the NBOD, and in addition the three NET officers after being elected by the NET and approved by NBOD. Second, is the composition of the NET – it was modified and approved from thirteen (13) members to have all JPIC coordinators, social action personnel in charge and lay representatives be part of the NET regardless of the numbers. Aside from the amendments, we are also finalizing the draft statement for the human rights violation to be published in the month of December. 


In general, VIVAT international organized two webinars as a response to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) where more than 100 world leaders have promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. The first webinar was as a parallel event of COP26 entitled, “Listen to the Cry of the Earth: Local Initiatives to Address Climate Change,” where our very own Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD was one of the speakers particularly on the reforestation and Climate Change. The webinar affirms that there are many initiatives particularly in building resilience to climate impacts and at the same time, there is a great need for human beings to change our heart and behavior to stop climate change. This must start from the grassroots where inhabitants become part of it and learn to think and act in in a way to achieve energy efficient buildings, low carbon public transport and encouraging cycling and walking to lower CO2 emissions. Some examples are producing goods and food locally or recovering green spaces like having urban gardening projects, and reforestation like planting bamboo as a community activities. The second webinar was organized together with the different JPICs and NGOs in response to the result of the COP26, entitled, “Climate Crisis and Mining in the Global South.” This was attended by 75 JPICs and NGOs representatives from different countries of Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe. And from the 75 representatives, there were SVDs including Bro. Carlos Ferrada Montero, SVD (General JPIC Coordinator), and Fr. Benigno P. Beltran, SVD and Fr. Ian Nercua, SVD from the Philippines.  The webinar has expressed relief that the rights of Indigenous peoples was highlighted and have more protections than we would have had under the rapidly growing voluntary carbon market. Because the IPs are always affected and threatened massively to any mining activities and the destruction of the tropical forest. At the same time, majority of the JPICs and NGOs representatives expresses dissatisfaction at the lack of stronger commitments to reduce emissions, and failure to agree “loss and damage” finance for countries that are vulnerable to climate change. Although the COP26 has closed the gap, but it has not solved the problem. The so-called strategic or critical minerals as a strategy creates exceptional conditions for the expansion of mining on the planet. Thus, it increases and reinforces the false narrative of the so called “Climatically Intelligent Mining". The extraction and processing of minerals for the production of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and new technologies cause significant social and environmental impacts, so the concept of “clean energy” should be considered a contradiction in terms. The webinar ended up with the commitment to watch closely on the following developments, namely: Growth vs Real Needs of the people; Drastic Growth of Energy Projection vs. Electricity Access; Energy transition vs Mineral Extraction; and Mineral Extraction vs Exacerbation of Climate Vulnerabilities.


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