sustainable development goals

[OPINION] Include UN Sustainable Development Goals in presidential campaign

Art Los Baños

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[OPINION] Include UN Sustainable Development Goals in presidential campaign
'The term of the next administration, 2022 to 2028, is critical to the achievement of the goals by 2030'

The series of “presidential interviews” on TV, radio, and social media lack serious discussions on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. The term of the next administration, 2022 to 2028, is critical to the achievement of the goals by 2030, the year the UN General Assembly has targeted when it launched the SDGs in 2015.

According to the UN, the SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The goals address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.

Actually, the Philippines through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), has integrated the SDGs into the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), 2017-2022. The attainment of the SDGs supposedly in 2030 should pave the way for the achievement of AmBisyon Natin 2040 as per NEDA. Ironically, there is no legitimate administration presidential candidate so this NEDA plan will never be raised in the campaign.

The candidates have to promote most of the 17 goals or even half of them. VP Leni Robredo is pushing for women’s empowerment, obviously, while Mayor Isko Moreno earlier announced that he would create more open and green spaces in Manila. The others are silent. Maybe their campaign teams do not see the SDGs as essential in the future of the country. 

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Our company, Tristar Group, is an Active Participant to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) since 2011. We uphold the Ten Principles of the UNGC in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. The UNGC is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with 13,000 participants and other stakeholders across 170 countries. It is also driving business awareness and action in support of achieving the SDGs by 2030. We are a member of the Global Compact Network UAE.

To give readers an idea about the SDGs, Tristar is promoting SDG No. 3 on Good Health, specifically Goal 3.6 “to reduce the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents” with various road safety awareness campaigns in the UAE, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. Another SDG is Goal No. 4 on Quality Education, where Tristar has funded the construction of school buildings, dormitories, and sanitary facilities in South Sudan and Kenya which have benefitted more than 4,000 school children.

The most popular Goal is No. 13 on Climate Change. In fact, US President Joe Biden created a position for ex-Secretary of State John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, who also sits in the National Security Council. Perhaps the next Philippine president should also appoint a Climate Czar.

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Goal 13 states that “climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities, and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.”

On April 25, 2016, the Philippines, along with 174 countries, signed the Paris Climate Agreement. The agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on December 12, 2015 and entered into force on November 4, 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5, degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

On February 15, 2019, NEDA posted on its SDG website about the project by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric and Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) to develop an enhanced flood early warning system (FEWS), and to boost the capacity of mandated agencies to monitor and manage the worsening problem of flooding in Metro Manila. NEDA said the project would contribute in strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacity of communities and ecosystems to climate-related hazards and natural disasters by providing timely and accurate disaster and climate information that will support risk-informed planning, particularly at the local level. Can someone from NEDA update us on the status of this project?  

This is to challenge media institutions like Rappler and private groups such as the Global Compact Network Philippines to include in the debates several SDGs as talking points of the candidates. The more goals the candidates discuss, the better for the Philippines in terms of compelling the government, private sector, and civil society to take action. –

Art “Popoy” Los Baños is the Corporate Communications Manager of the Dubai-based Tristar Group, which is present in 21 countries and territories across three continents. His expertise is in corporate reputation, media and stakeholders relations, partnerships and collaborations, and employee engagement. He has been an expat in Dubai, UAE since 2001.

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