MANILA — French experts in energy and food security are set to come to the Philippines to help provide solutions to challenges in both fields, the French ambassador to the Philippines and Micronesia said Thursday.
Ambassador Michéle Boccoz said this was among the points discussed between French President Emmanuel Macron and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during their face-to-face meeting in New York last September.
The 2 leaders’ exchange at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly tackled how global disruptions such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have led to food and fuel being “weaponized”, Boccoz said.
The ambassador said Macron committed to working closely with the Philippines in its shift to green energy, sustainable agriculture, and green development.
Separate task forces of French experts for both food and energy security have been formed since, Boccoz said.
“At the moment, we are gathering the right people in France and the purpose is to come over and to work with the Philippines and to see, listen, hear what the needs are to see where the exchange of best practices can take place and what we can do together,” she told reporters at an event in the French ambassador’s residence in Makati.
Boccoz said the teams have already begun to meet in Paris, adding Macron had told Marcos Jr. the experts “will come soon and quickly”.
The ambassador cited opportunities in the Philippines to develop alternative energy sources such as geothermal, hydroelectric, hydrogen, and nuclear.
France also helped establish the International Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) Initiative, a mechanism based on the COVAX model for vaccines aiming to address the food crisis in light of the Ukraine war.
Meanwhile, representatives of key French companies will go to the Philippines on October 24 to 26 to meet with local business leaders and government officials, Boccoz added.
There are 121 subsidiaries of French companies already present in the country with more set to open operations, Boccoz said.
Many of these firms, she said, are focused on green energy and construction, such as builders of solar power farms in Zamboanga.
Marcos and Macron had also discussed climate issues and biodiversity, with a focus on ocean protection, as well as security cooperation and the modernization of the military, the ambassador said.
Before their New York meeting, the 2 presidents had spoken by phone.
Boccoz added discussions are ongoing about the possibility of Macron or Marcos Jr. visiting their counterpart’s countries, but said it is too soon to confirm anything definite.