#2030Now: Time to redefine development
MANLA, Philippines - The Philippines enjoys a strong macroeconomic performance, but for Senator Loren Legarda, now is the time to redefine what development means in the face environmental problems that threaten the poor who are most vulnerable.
"Does development mean 7 or 8% GDP growth or the quality of life (in which) vulnerability is actually lessened and risks are actually lessened?" asked Legarda at the 2013 Manila Social Good Summit on Saturday, September 21.
The Manila leg of the 4th +SocialGood Summit, which coincides with the United Nations general assembly, sought to participate in the #2030Now global conversation. #2030Now is part of UN efforts to craft a new development agenda that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
"Each one of us, in every aspect of life has a choice: business as usual or sustainable development,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday, September 23, in a bid to propel the MDGs across the finishing line.
Greatest humanitarian challenge
According to Legarda, who heads the Senate committees on climate change and cultural communities, climate change is the "greatest humanitarian and development challenge of our time."
When tackling development, the senator said the quality of life of the poorest and the most vulnerable population should be taken into consideration.
"Reducing disaster risk and adapting to climate change are highly important to the world now especially to developing countries like the Philippines, where disaster risks abound, and to the poor and the marginalized who are most affected by disasters - our IPs (indigenous peoples), our urban settlers, those who live in vulnerable areas," Legarda said.
The country's "weak" institutions are holding the country back from attaining its development goals, the UN said in 2011.
The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for 2012 to 2018 set aside a huge amount merely to "strengthen capacities of national and local agencies to deliver quality social services for the poor."
Laws don't guarantee action
Citing various environmental policies including the landmark disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) laws, Legarda said the country has been praised by the UN for creating a policy environment that can nurture a culture of safety and resilience.
But she expressed dismay on how these policies are being implemented, noting that the quantity of environmental and climate change laws does not automatically translate into effective action.
Legarda recalled, for instance, that it has been more than 12 years already since the Solid Waste Management Act was enacted, but only 414 of 1,610 local government units nationwide, or only 25.7% of the total, have complied with the law.
In Metro Manila, only 9 out of 17 LGUs have submitted the mandated solid waste management plans.
Submit to the discipline of DRR
There is a pressing need to strengthen the ability of local government units to implement DRR and CCA policies and programs, Legarda said.
"It is imperative for the government to submit to the discipline of disaster risk and climate change sensitive development planning," according to the senator, a UN regional champion for DRR and CCA.
A recent World Bank study revealed that national CCA and DRR plans are not integrated in local government plans.
The study cited various gaps in climate policy efforts across sectors and levels of government that limits their effectiveness.
"Strong political will at the national and local level can help bring about the big change we want to see," Legarda stressed. - Rappler.com