Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has assured that the Duterte administration will "pursue national development conscious of our responsibility to safeguard the people, the environment, and the biodiversity from the negative impacts of climate change."

Lopez made the assurance as she left for Marrakech, Morocco on Sunday to attend the first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Lopez was tasked by Malacañang to attend the summit, officially billed as the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Marrakech conference, which runs from November 7-18, is the crucial next step for governments looking to operationalize the new global climate deal adopted in Paris, France last year.

Lopez is expected to attend the Women Leaders and Global Transformation Summit in which world leaders will learn how women can be strong solution providers to further sustainable development.

Before leaving for Morocco, Lopez called on Filipinos to "care enough to act and do what is needed together."

She also said: “As one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts, we should be sitting at the negotiating table. The Philippines cannot abandon its commitment to address the single greatest threat facing the planet today."

Lopez cited the country's experience with supertyphoon Yolanda, which claimed thousands of lives and left unimaginable destruction in central Philippines in 2013.

Following consultation with members of the Cabinet, President Duterte announced that he finally decided to ratify the Paris Agreement.

The President's decision was welcomed by several quarters, including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"We, in the DENR, welcome with much joy and hope in our hearts President Rodrigo Duterte's decision in allowing the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change," Lopez said.

After achieving the threshold number of the countries needed to ratify the Paris Agreement, the international climate pact started to take effect on November 4. ###