Post-2015 development agenda beckons
What comes after 2015 when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) end?
Open and inclusive consultations that put people first in a ‘Post-2015 Agenda: The Future We Want’ are now globally underway in anticipation of the 2015 deadline of the MDGs. The Philippines is one of 50 countries chosen by the United Nations (UN) for this consultative process which requires that voices of the poor, marginalized, vulnerable and civil society are heard.
The UN and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) launched today a series of consultations leading to a Philippine position on what constitutes a framework for a post-2015 development agenda. This will be the country’s contribution to the global development agenda that is expected to build on the gains and lessons learned from the MDGs.
According to Ms. Luiza Carvalho, UN Resident Coordinator, “the post-2015 agenda assures continuity and builds on the progress achieved through the MDGs while confronting persistent inequalities and facing new challenges. People are looking to the UN for action beyond 2015 to achieve a world that promotes equity, freedom, prosperity, dignity and peace.”
“The development agenda must be bold and ambitious, relevant and transformational for both present and future generations; the challenge is to continue lifting people out of poverty while protecting the planet’s vulnerable resources”, she added.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said that “defining the Philippine perspective of the post-2015 development agenda calls for an inclusive discussion and debate on what really matters to us as a country.” “We need to engage different development stakeholders to collectively craft the future we want, and to further amplify the voice and aspirations of all sectors, especially the poor and marginalized,” he said.
Balisacan also said that “efforts to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development hinge on objectively defining critical socio-economic issues and crafting time-bound goals with measurable targets. This national consultation thus provides us an opportunity to re-think and seriously consider the building blocks which would enunciate and affirm the key principles, pillars and enablers of growth within the context of sustainable development”.
The Cabinet official added that the country’s resolve to achieve the MDGs has led the Philippine government to “realize the importance of localizing development initiatives and in forging public-private partnerships, particularly in the areas of financing, technical assistance and advocacy”.
Although a big impact has been made on the developing world, much remains unfinished after the MDGs. The MDG 1 target of halving poverty has been met globally as of 2010 but projections show that in 2015 almost 1 billion people will still be living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 a day. At the same time, humanity’s consumption and production are exceeding planetary bounds --- the earth’s annual regenerative capacity is currently consumed at 150% compared with 65% in 1990, a situation that challenges sustainability. Access to safe drinking water has been greatly expanded, 40 million more children are attending school, close to four million children are living who would otherwise have died, more than 200,000 people are alive who before would have died from malaria, and an estimated 5.2 million people in low and middle-income countries are now receiving life-saving HIV treatment.
The UN Civil Society Advisory Committee (UNCSAC) highlighted the unfinished tasks and future direction for the Philippines. Ms. Beckie Malay, UNCSAC Lead Convenor said that "in the midst of the country's economic growth, the government must ensure that policies such as the Reproductive Health and the Freedom of Information, and Anti-Discrimination bills are in place; and that programs to address widening inequalities in income, access to social services, and the protection and fulfillment of the people's right to development are effectively implemented.
“We cannot have more women dying while giving life, we cannot have any more discrimination because of social status, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity.” “Between now and 2015, with an election in between, civil society organizations and the social movement will continue the struggle to make our communities resilient, productive and vigilant so that social, political and economic justice becomes a real possibility after the MDGs," Malay stressed.
Globally, progress has been uneven, continuing gaps on poverty, hunger, health, gender equality, water, sanitation and many other issues still need attention after 2015.
In the Philippines, MDG targets to halve poverty by 2015, universal access to basic education, improved maternal health and gender equality require greater effort to achieve. The country is on track in reducing child mortality, environment sustainability; and reversing trends for malaria, tuberculosis, but not HIV/AIDS.
The Philippines is a signatory to the 2000 Millennium Declaration that rolled out the time-bound MDGs as a global agenda for development by 2015. The eight (8) MDGs are: halve extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education; gender equality; reduce child mortality; improved maternal health; stop and reverse the spread of TB, malaria and HIV/AIDS; environmental sustainability and global partnerships for aid, trade and debt relief.
Extensive consultations for the new development framework are supplemented by an online platform (http://post2015.org) to enable everyone across the globe to share their views, an opportunity, as never before, to influence the development framework from the earliest stages of the process.
At the launching today of the PHL consultation process, results of a study on lessons learned from achieving the MDGs in the country, focus group discussions with poverty groups, broad-based survey, key informant interviews, civil society perspective and PHL position in the recently concluded Rio + 20 Conference were presented. These would inform the building blocks of the post-2015 framework and the identification of themes most relevant to the Philippines.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has designated a High-level Panel on Post-2015 that includes members from civil society and the private sector in addition to government leaders to finalize the post-2015 development vision from the global consultations. This will be presented to UN Member States in September 2013.
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