The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) facilitated a learning and strategy session on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) attended by different congressional committees on October 28-29, at Sol y Viento Hotel Mountain Hot Spring Resort in Calamba, Laguna.
National Economic and Development Authority’s representative Michael Provido led the discussion on the country’s progress and the challenges the country faced in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs ended in 2015 with missed targets on reducing hunger, improving maternal health, providing access to modern family planning methods, closing the gender gap, increasing cohort survival in school and stopping the spread of HIV.
The recently promulgated SDGs build on the progress in the MDGs and seek to fully realize its promise, Provido said. The SDGs aim to end poverty, empower people, protect the environment and build partnerships for lasting peace and prosperity.
Some participants from Congress, however, expressed concern that localizing the SDGs could prove to be a huge challenge. It is important, they said, that the policymaking and planning process on the SDGs be more inclusive and transparent.
For her part, Ms. Luisa Lim-Jolongbayan, Head of the Management Support Unit at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines, emphasized the willingness and initiative of UN agencies to help countries to achieve SDGs.
Experts from various sectors also talked about specific sectoral issues. Atty. Anjanette Saguisag, Social Policy Specialist of UNICEF Philippines, discussed the stakes for children in the SDGs. Mr. Lolito Tacardon, Regional Director of Commission on Population, talked about how the SDGs impact population. Dr. Marilen Danguilan, Senior Policy Adviser of UN World Food Programme-Philippines (WFP) discussed issues on food and nutrition security that need to be addressed.
They urged the review of the current legislative actions, pending policies and bills which are critical in the preparation for and success of the SDGs.
On the other hand, Mr. Isagani Serrano, President of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, shared the perspective of civil society organizations, underscoring the need to identify and understand the root of the problems to arrive at sustainable solutions.
But according to one of the resource speakers, focusing on the three factors—road systems, water and electricity—are critical in gradually reducing poverty.
Among the participants in this learning session were secretaries and staff of the following congressional offices and committees: Congressional Policy and Budget Research Office, Special Committee on MDGs, Special Committee on Reforestation, Special Committee on Food Security, Special Committee on Climate Change, Committee on Women and Gender Equality, Committee on the Welfare of Children, Committee on Public Information, Committee on Poverty Alleviation, Committee on National Cultural Communities, Committee on Mindanao Affairs, Committee on Human Rights, Committee on Health, Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, Committee on Energy, Committee on Economic Affairs and Committee on Ecology.
This learning session was organized by PLCPD in partnership with House of Representatives Special Committee on the MDGs, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and with the support of ICCO Cooperation and WFP.
With the continuing support from these partners, PLCPD will continue to lead the discussion on the effective and efficient implementation and monitoring and evaluation of SDGs; and will mainstream the SDGs and make meaningful legislation to ensure that the new goals will be achieved.