Social Watch Philippines kicks off civil society review on FfD

Marivic Raquiza and Nadia Ginete




Five years after the United Nations Financing for Development (FfD) Conference held in Monterrey Mexico in 2002, Social Watch Philippines (SWP) once again kicks off the civil society review of the FfD outcomes in the Philippines.

Fiveyears ago, SWP led civil society participation in a multi-stakeholder approachconvened by the Philippine government, in the crafting of official policypositions on FfD, which also included the business sector. The partnershipforged around the FfD conference between and among government, civil society andthe business sector was observed by many as a “best practice” inconstructive engagement. Today, the civil society review process is anchored onthe overriding objectives of mobilizing new and additional resources for theMDGs at the country level, and identifying stumbling blocks as well strategiesto overcoming constraints and challenges. Some years ago, a government studypointed out that the cumulative resource gap for all MDG financing from 2007 to2010 stood at PhP 394.7 B (or 1.2 % of GNP) under high cost assumptions. Thestudy also outlined ways of reducing the shortfall through lower costinterventions and proposed policy measures to increasing budgetary support. TheSWP review will take off and build on the results of the study. It will identifyways of increasing revenues while pointing out the need to address existingpolicies that promote inequities. Innovative government-CSO proposals will alsobe presented such as changing the debt sustainability concept of the IMF andParis Club, and mainstreaming a debt-to-MDG conversion for countries outside theHIPC initiative. The FfD CSO review will also look into the critical role oflabor migration, particularly the contribution of overseas workers remittancesin keeping the Philippine economy afloat. Finally, the study will point to thecentrality of the quality of governance in addressing the FfD challenges facedby the country.

The FfD thematic policy papers generated by SWP will be discussed and debated ina national consultation of CSOs. The CSO consultation is scheduled around WorldPoverty and Hunger Eradication Day (17 October 2007) to commemorate andhighlight the FfD aspects of poverty and hunger. The CSO policy positions firmedup during the consultation shall be shared with official policy makers inrelation to the FfD process.

(From "The Road to Doha", a newsletter by UN-NGLS, Geneva)