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Sustainable Development – we all have to be part of it!

INTEGRITY BEAT - Henry Schumacker (The Freeman) - April 16, 2021 - 12:00am

Sustainable development, poverty reduction and climate policy are clearly linked in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. The agenda, which was adopted by all United Nations member states in September 2015, calls for nothing less than the transformation of our world.

The aim is to reconcile global economic progress with social justice and the conservation of natural resources. It includes ensuring that no one will be left behind. That is why the 2030 Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals focus on the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.

Developing countries, emerging economies and industrialized nations must all do their part to ensure the success of the Agenda. Of course, the Philippines is part of this agenda and has to deliver!!

It's great to see that UN member states want to achieve it however the question is how to get the private sector to be equally or even more committed to achieve it. As the private sector has clearly started to focus on sustainable development, it is essential that government agencies and the private sector work together in achieving the agenda by supporting the programs financially and as business objectives.

Five principles for implementation

The 2030 Agenda and its 17 goals are important benchmarks; but to ensure that they are implemented in our daily work, let’s look at five principles drawn from this framework:

1. Shared responsibility

Whether combating poverty, protecting the climate or ensuring access to health care for all: global challenges cannot be mastered by governments alone. The principle of shared responsibility therefore stands for a new understanding of global and local cooperation. All must pull together to ensure a sustainable future. In addition to governments, businesses, civil society groups, citizens and researchers must do their part.

Looking at the Philippines, it will be essential to jointly identify

l sectors to benefit,

l issues to be addressed,

l implementation targets and time frames to be established, and, most importantly,

l how will the implementation continue once the initial financial and intellectual support is finished.

One example for the Philippines could be a partnership for sustainable agriculture or – more specifically, sustainable food supply for the domestic market and for exports. I would appreciate input.

2. Integrated approaches

Global challenges such as climate change and the eradication of hunger are closely interwoven. That is why the 2030 Agenda attaches great importance to ensuring that the social, economic and ecological dimensions of sustainability go hand-in-hand and are not weighed against each other.

I firmly believe that the focus on agriculture and food supply in the Philippines makes strategic sense and makes logistics and cool supply chains an important part of it. Strategically, we need to combine the food supply centers in Mindanao and North Luzon with the processing and distribution center of Metro Manila, taking both the size of the Metro Manila market and the export infrastructure into consideration. What role does Cebu want to play?

3. Leave no one behind

After all, sustainable development is possible only if everyone is included. Given the terrible effect of the pandemic on poverty, it will be essential that the agriculture / food security project addresses the issues of food supply and distribution to the poor. Given the fact that so many Filipino school children are malnourished and stunted, it will be essential to integrate the poor and the children in the project.

For this reason, inequalities must be accurately identified and carefully analyzed and new, inclusive approaches that incorporate ideas on how to reduce poverty be included in the project with concrete solutions outlined. Again, I would welcome input from Cebu!!!

4. Accountability

The projects should bring together experts from governments, civil society, research and business. The project should build on mutual learning and dialogue in order to master the challenges encountered in implementing sustainable development projects. In my view, the universities and colleges in Cebu should become partners of the private sector and government. You agree?

5. Universality

To achieve sustainable development, every country needs to change. The principle of universality means that the 2030 Agenda applies universally to all countries – to developing countries and emerging economies as much as to industrialized countries. Each country is called upon to define its contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, for example within the context of national planning processes and sustainability strategies.

In my view, for the Philippines, the initial focus should be on agriculture and food security/food logistics. You have better ideas?

I want to be part of this project; my request today is that interested parties give me feedback so that we can jointly go deeper into creating sustainable development projects that will be based on shared responsibility, integrated approaches and will leave no one behind. Please email be at hjschumacher59@gmail.com

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