In the Spotlight: Social Watch offers an alternative Philippine 2030 Agenda

Signing up to the promise of a Philippines where no one is left behind and following the path to sustainability, Social Watch Philippines (SWP), along with the CSO contributors from its network, presents on Friday our "Spotlight Report" on the 2030 Development Agenda in a dialogue with the National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA) at SEAMEO-Innotech, Quezon City.

This is in time for the presentation of the Philippine report to the first High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on July 11-20 at the UN Headquarters in New York. In consort with 22 other countries, the Philippines is expected to lead the national review and report on how the 2030 agenda will be translated into national sustainability plans.

Entitled "For Justice and Sustainability: The Other PH 2030 Agenda’, the report is about taking on our government on the promise of sustainable development in the next fifteen years, as manifested in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a host of agreements and conventions on climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and financing for development. “It is an attempt by SWP to present its analysis of stubborn issues like poverty and underemployment which has plagued our country and present views on how these may be overcome", SWP Co-Convenor Mr. Isagani Serrano said.

In coming up with the agenda, SWP led a process that responds to the ‘where are we now,’ ‘why’ and ‘how to overcome' questions. The Other PH 2030 Report is composed of a civil society agenda on achieving sustainable development; combatting poverty, hunger and inequality; attaining education for all; pursuing women’s rights; ensuring coal-free, renewable energy; sustaining life on land and below water; advancing sustainable economy, decent work and social enterprise; and sectoral reports on children, older persons and persons with disabilities. They consulted different sectoral CSO representatives.

"Through this Report, we offer our support and cooperation in figuring out the sustainability problem and finding lasting solutions to the cyclical problems of high poverty, high inequality, jobless growth, and continuing environmental degradation despite or because of economic growth", Serrano added.

While recognizing the crucial role of the HLPF process in the oversight and facilitation of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs at the global level, Co-Convenor Rene Raya stressed that the “Spotlight Report” it is a bold step to take the challenge beyond what's minimally expected in the July HLPF national review. “Our report seeks to push for the notion of “no one left behind” to mean inclusion without exploitation and a call to action for sustainability that harnesses common but differentiated responsibilities.”

Serrano also expressed the urgency and compelling need to depart from development-as-usual and strive for a radical vision of the future and stronger means of implementation. “Government and citizens alike should find ways together to change everything that causes the unbearable human suffering around us and the increasing threat of climate change to our very existence, he said.

In anticipation of the Philippine report on the SDGs, SWP believes that there is enough reason to hope the Philippines can deliver on its promise. Co-Convenor Marivic Raquiza insisted, “on the new Duterte regime falls the responsibility of finding out why sustainable development still remains an aspiration after a succession of five post-Marcos democratic administrations. A well-defined baseline is critical so we can plot much better how to do the right things and how to do things right. It is also requisite for tracking progress.”

Co-Convenor Jessica Reyes Cantos also emphasized the need for citizen’s participation in the process of planning and monitoring commitments that will be set by the 2016-2022 Philippine Development Plan. “We would like to see the new regime's plan as to how poverty will be eradicated and sustainable development achieved by 2030. Civil society wants to participate in the whole process, highlighting the people's say in shaping whatever sustainable development agenda will come out of it,” she said.

In closing, Serrano urged government to seriously take into account and heed the voices and perspectives contained in the Spotlight Report.. “We appeal to the Duterte administration to consider this civil society alternative as a valuable input when it presents its report to the HLPF. It is our hope that the government’s recognition of the contributions of civil society in pursuing SDGs will help the country better address poverty and inequality, and promote low-carbon development and climate resilience in the next 15 years”, he concluded.

"For Justice and Sustainability: The other PH 2030 Agenda" is available here.

Leonor Magtolis Briones, Isagani R Serrano, Rene Raya, Jeck Reyes-Cantos, Marivic Raquiza, Janet Carandang.

Source: Social Watch Philippines.