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Philippines backs UN call for sustainable development goals

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines renewed yesterday its commitment through a “decade of action” for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), citing progress made on some goals including education, economic growth and justice.

On United Nations Day, the Philippines expressed its support for the call of UN Secretary-General António Guterres to find solutions and accelerate efforts to achieve the SDGs, only 10 years before the deadline.

Globally, Guterres cited progress made in areas such as access to energy, to decent work and in fighting extreme poverty and child mortality.

The Philippines, in its second Voluntary National Review (VNR), has shown progress in achieving the global goals based on the report of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The country has achieved a near-universal primary enrollment rate of 94.2 percent in 2017 under Quality Education or SDG 4, and improved access to education for vulnerable groups. There were also significant increases in completion rates for primary and secondary education by more than eight and 10 percent in the past two years.

On decent work and economic growth or SDG 8, the Philippines recorded a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of over six percent as well as the lowest national unemployment rate in almost 15 years.

The Green Jobs Act further promoted decent jobs that are environment-friendly, protect the ecosystem and biodiversity and help reduce waste generation and pollution. 

The private sector also brought inclusive business models and value chains, while disadvantaged groups availed themselves of livelihood support programs to lift communities out of poverty.

To promote social protection and to narrow the gap between male and female labor force, the country has also expanded maternity leave benefits and extended its conditional cash transfer to poor families.

On reduced inequalities or SDG 10, data showed a significant growth rate in household income per capita of the bottom 40 percent of the population, private companies now hire more persons with disability and poor communities were also empowered through a community-driven development approach.

On climate action or SDG 13, the Philippines ranks third in the world as “most vulnerable to hazards” but data showed a decrease in persons directly affected by disasters from 2015 to 2018.

On peace, justice and strong institutions or SDG 16, cumulative initiatives including those by the international community resulted in the Bangsamoro Organic Law to address the conflict in Mindanao.

The National ID System, the government’s digital identification platform, is under implementation to facilitate access of the marginalized to government assistance, among others.

A whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach is, however, crucial to sustain the progress that has been made to address remaining challenges, realize aspirations and ensure that no one is left behind.

The Partnership Framework for Sustainable Development (PFSD) further promotes a convergence of the global goals and national priorities of the Philippines.

ANTóNIO GUTERRES

UNITED NATIONS DAY

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