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Climate finance and the must-have mustache

Too much of anything is often bad; at the very least, it can lead to bad things. I’ve gone to a fair share of meetings pumped-up with strong coffee and agitated individuals. With a line of work such as climate finance, going overboard on certain matters can happen in a blink.

We are like time bombs with messed-up triggers. We are like thrill seekers with an insatiable need for different kinds of highs.

Our office recently organized two major discussions on climate finance last May. I personally presented the results of a research initiative that sought to understand approaches taken to localize the internationally developed concept of direct access, with a view to operationalizing the People’s Survival Fund (PSF). One such event was held on May 8, at Dulcinea in Quezon City. Three weeks later, my colleague, Gelo, introduced a new international initiative that tracks adaptation finance from international sources to actual flows into the country. It was held last May 28, at the Luxent Hotel. The titles alone of both events seem heavy enough even without the details. The former was called “Towards and Adaptation Finance Implementation Agenda: Case Studies for the People’s Survival Fund”, and the latter bore the title “Pipeline Philippines: The Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative.” Nosebleed, as some of my college chums might remark.

But everyone came prepared for both events, and it ensured that discussions were clear and people were engaged and approached topics thoughtfully. It helped of course that we took steps to ensure

the conversation was lively throughout. The major requirement is a proper design for the two events. One program covered half a day, but with a full lunch preceding discussions. The other encompassed almost the entirety of daylight. But we also used our secret weapon — if you’ve been to an iCSC-organized meeting, you’d know that we always serve not just flowing coffee and tea but also flowing hot chocolate.

Download Presentation from May 8 Download Presentation from May 28

iCSC_chocolatedrink_mykindabookChocolate, according to science, is a source of “feel good” chemicals in our brains. Experiments on chocolate, chocolate lovers, and even chocolate cynics demonstrated a direct correlation between the ingestion of chocolate and heightened levels of anandamide, serotonin, and endorphins . The first chemical might sound like a pesticide while the other two seem like something illegal but they are all neurotransmitters that allow the brain to function efficiently in a relaxed pace. Other studies even went to the extent of coining a new kind of high—the chocolate high.

Eating and, in our case, drinking chocolate, really did change the environment of events that we organized. Chocolate helped increase not only the concentration of participants in our meetings; it also helped generate a happy state of affairs. Together with our audience of mid-level supervisors from the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Climate Change Commission (CCC), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Office of the President (OP), the Senate and the House of Representatives, local government officials, academics and civil society groups, we were teleported to a place where comfortable, continuous conversation were conducted without the stress that usually accompanies similar activities.

We became a council of wise, happy people with chocolate mustaches. Working on climate finance can be

tough, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be collaborative and fun.

As Deborah Waterhouse, one of the wisest women, ever once said about chocolate:

“It’s Mother Nature’s solution via food cravings to help us feel better and to function more efficiently.”

Remember her words. Subsequent discussions should be even more promising and, of course, sweeter the next time around.


by: Kairos dela Cruz

About the Image: A woman farmer finally got the chance to dry her harvested rice after typhoon Pablo (Bopha) hit Lanuza, Surigao del Sur. Lanuza’s Municipal Agriculturist’s Office (MAO) reported heavy damages in the the municipality’s crop yields on banana and root crops due to typhoon Pablo. (Kairos dela Cruz/iCSC)

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