Filipinos aspire for work-life balance, a comfortable, secure and peaceful life. This long-term aspiration—the AmBisyon Natin 2040—we learned from a nationwide survey conducted in late 2015. This was on about the time we adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and subsequently crafted the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022. We soon recognized that we need to transform our world by ensuring sustainable development and leaving no one behind in order to live the life we want.
Sustainability and inclusivity are both goals and principles that guide our development strategies. Engaging stakeholders is necessary for an initiative to gain traction and be owned by a broad section of society who are driven to make it work and succeed.
The Philippines’ second Voluntary National Review emphasizes the synergies between government and non-government actions required to ensure inclusiveness and equality.
The Philippines has employed a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to SDG implementation. National actions are grounded in laws to ensure robustness. Cross-sectoral coordination and orchestration of actions are done through existing institutional mechanisms. Stakeholders are informed and engaged in discussions. Our recently launched SDG website provides a platform for broader engagement, including with the youth and the Filipino diaspora.
The primary catalyst for action is the PDP 2017-2022 and we made sure that the SDGs were integrated into the Plan. The PDP has subsequently been cascaded to the whole of government, including at the local level, following Executive Order No. 27 (2017). Nationally determined 2030 numerical targets were identified, which set the required pace of progress of the SDGs. These targets are reflected in the Results Matrices, a companion document of the PDP. The Philippine Statistics Authority monitors the Tier 1 indicators through their SDG Watch.
While government is both catalyst and mobilizer of the policy framework for the SDGs, even non-government stakeholders have taken on the responsibility for the agenda and delivering the services to the rights-holders.
For quality education – the legal framework for institutionalizing the Alternative Learning System has been set. The Department of Education, working with the private sector, has been reaching out to what we call the last mile, which includes out-of-school youth and other vulnerable groups, to deliver education services. ‘
For decent work – to allow for a just transition to a greener economy, the Philippines’ Green Jobs Act incentivizes enterprises to offer jobs using green production practices. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission will require Sustainability Reports for Publicly Listed Companies, beginning 2020. Private businesses, like Human Nature, are adopting inclusive business models, wherein the value chain deliberately involves disadvantaged communities. The Mentor Me program of the Department of Trade and Industry further promotes mentoring and partnership between small and large enterprises.
To reduce inequality – the Conditional Cash Transfer provides targeted interventions to disadvantaged families. Responding to Republic Act 10524 which reserves employment for persons with disability, companies such as Lamoiyan Corporation employ handicapped people who comprise a significant proportion of their personnel. To offset regional disparities, the Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities provides a support fund for poorer local governments to build access roads and water system projects, among others.
For climate action – the Climate Risk Management Framework provides risk information to enhance adaptive capacity. Project NOAH exemplifies the partnership between the academe and government in providing timely weather information for disaster preparedness. A ban on single-use plastics is already implemented in a number of cities and municipalities. A Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan is now being formulated to provide a coherent framework for climate action.
For peace, justice, and strong institutions – A major milestone is the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which was a result of cumulative initiatives, including those by the international community, to address a long-standing conflict in southern Philippines.
To ensure effectiveness of partnerships – the Philippines has been conducting the Official Development Assistance Portfolio Review. Still, we make sure that the SDG implementation is mostly financed from domestic resources.
Pursuing the SDGs requires an ambitious approach that gets everyone behind the goal of leaving no one behind. Involving the different stakeholders today in a very concrete way will determine the attainment of the SDGs in the remaining 11 years, and on to 2040.