Thursday French President Francois Hollande visited Manila, Philippines for the purpose of addressing climate change. Hollande said during a press conference there that the Philippines are geographically located to “best embody climate disruption in the world.” The reason for this contention by the French President is, as he acknowledges, climate change is now a scientifically proven phenomenon and the extremely strong storms systems that have killed thousands in the Philippines can be provided as proof of this.
Hollande has recently made it very clear to the world that a climate change deal will most likely not happen in December if the rich nations of the world do not support a fund that compensates for the poorer nation’s economic needs. This issue of economic needs has often been the problem when addressing fishing restrictions and pollution regulations. Poorer countries simply cannot afford to cut back their production needs. This is a major problem in establishing new policy related to climate change according Hollande.
The climate change deal Hollande referred to is the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that will take place in Paris in December. The intent of the organizers of this convention is to negotiate policy that will reduce emissions of climate changing chemicals such as carbon dioxide. However, the one major issue that will be addressed at this convention, by Hollande and others, is how to make sure that the $100 billion needed annually by poorer nations such as the Philippines by 2020 will be raised. This $100 billion annually is the amount needed by these developing nations to supplement that income offered by industry in these nations that create the pollutants.
Hollande is the first French head of state to visit the Philippines but as he explained during his visit the Philippines has always been a friend to France. During his visit Hollande was able to have a closed-door discussion with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III who he visited with last September in Paris. Aquino is the son of Corazon Aquino the revolutionary leader whose party was first officially recognized by France in 1986. She led a successful uprising against the dictator Ferdinand Marco.
During his two-day visit in the Philppines Hollande was also able to discuss with Aquino the issue of climate change as well as the issue of control over the South China Sea. In recent years there has been some conflict between China and the Philippines as to where territorial lines are drawn. Hollande and Aquino had planned to discuss this issue but there are no reports as to whether they did discuss the issue or any details as to what was discussed.
While Hollande is the first head of France to visit the Philippines, this visit appeared to be productive and enjoyable for the French president. Hollande even wrote an inscription in the Malacanan Palace guest book explaining that his presence in the Philippines as “proof of a profound friendship” between the two nations and that in “launching the Manila Appeal” the two nations have marked a starting point in their pursuit to preserve the planet’s climate.