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Going into labor

By: Kairos dela Cruz

My wife, Katherine, is on her 34th week of pregnancy. It means the baby is coming out really soon! And yet, here I am on a two-step flight, from Manila through Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu. As I rush from gate to gate and a layover cut too close by a delay during departure, the sign “you should have stayed home” kept popping up in my head.

Yet on I ran, past security and into the plane.

I had already skipped several trips before because of the pregnancy, and yet the event I’m joining in the next two days seems like a gamble I cannot pass. Of course, my wife’s condition now is more stable compared to the first trimester, when I pored over readings about COP 21 instead of being in Paris. As I watch our son grow in her womb – our second kid – my resolve to hammer out a better future for them grows. I have my daughter, Karina, to help me find my bearing every time I slack.

My contribution revolves around the climate finance world we carved with good people from the House and the Senate, who hold the power of the purse in the national budgeting process. We’ve done a lot with our legislature. Together we passed the country’s first adaptation funding mechanism – the People’s Survival Fund, established the House oversight committee on climate change and special committee on climate change, and started a recognizable increase in the awareness among legislators as to why budgeting for the climate is critical.

I am travelling to Nepal to share this experience. With a little luck, maybe I will get to inspire others to take on similar efforts as well.

I will be part of a panel speaking on the importance of collaboration between civil society and government in ensuring a climate-inclusive national budget in an audience predominantly from South Asian countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. The workshop is organized by UNDP and the Government of Nepal.

From the aircraft the subcontinent’s vast land bloomed beneath me as we approached mountainous terrain. From the cockpit the pilot is announcing we are about to begin our descent. Most probably, I’ll be sitting in my hotel room two hours from now still pondering if I should have stayed home.

A lot has been done and accomplished, but we still need to do more – far, far more. I feel fortunate to belong to a family that always understands why I need to be somewhere else. They inspire me to continue trying to make a difference. To my wife, don’t go into labor yet. To my daughter and son – wait for me. I’ll be home soon.

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