The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) — with the United Nations and its development arm, the UN Development Program — is now setting its sights farther, as it began on Monday a series of consultations to come up with a framework for the country’s post-2015 anti-poverty goals.
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the agency and its partners are now “looking beyond 2015” while assessing what the country has achieved and still has to do concerning the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He noted that the Philippines continues to face critical issues especially poverty, equity and environmental degradation, with human capital formation still one of the major challenges the country has to hurdle.
“But these are issues, moreover, that have to be dealt with through actions and mechanisms consistent with the country’s commitment under the Rio+20 [framework],” Balisacan, also Neda secretary general, said on Monday addressing around 50 leaders from civil society groups.
Balisacan was referring to the United Nations’ Rio+20 summit held in June this year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in which the Philippines was a participant. During the summit, world leaders, government officials, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, came together to discuss measures to reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.
The national consultation series is an opportunity for the government to “rethink and seriously consider” its programs to attain sustainable development, the Cabinet official said.
Balisacan discussed some areas the Philippines must work on to be able to hit its MDG targets.
He stressed the need to localize development goals and efforts, and forge public-private partnerships particularly in the areas of financing, technical assistance and advocacy.
According to the Neda official, there is a need to stress to local government units their roles, since the delivery of most social services is devolved to them.
On the other hand, he said some efforts of the government like the conditional cash transfer programs might manifest themselves in the National Statistics Coordination Board data on the MDG targets to be released early next year.
The series of consultations in the Philippines are coordinated with the UN-led national consultations in 49 other developing countries to be completed by early 2013.
The post-2015 agenda assures the continuity of and builds on the progress achieved through the MDGs as respective countries confront persistent inequalities, Dr. Luiza Carvalho, UN resident coordinator on the post-2015 development agenda, said.
Although a large impact has been made on the developing world, much remains unfinished, she explained. The MDG target of halving poverty has been met globally as of 2010, but projections show that by 2015, almost 1 billion people will still be living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 a day.
Philippine MDG targets to halve poverty by 2015, provide universal access to basic education, improved maternal health and to gender equality still require “greater effort to achieve,” Balisacan said.
But the country is on track to reduce child mortality, achieving environment sustainability and reversing trends for diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, but not HIV/AIDS.