ECCP’s Paving the Road Ahead: SDGs and the Philippines Webinar Calls for the Participation of Government and Private Sectors to Realign with SDG Targets

With the setbacks on the SDGs brought by the pandemic, the UNDP calls for the active participation of all sectors of the society, including the government, private sectors, and civil societies to ensure the attainment of SDG targets.

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), together with SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. (SGV) as the Technical Adviser, held a webinar titled Paving the Road Ahead: SDGs and the Philippines last March 18, 2021. The speaker, Mr.  Enrico Gaveglia, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines, discussed the Philippines’ progress in terms of its SDG targets before and during the pandemic. In 2019, the second Philippine Voluntary Review reported that some targets, such as SDGs 1, 4, and 17 were on track and accelerated, while SDGs 2, 3, 6, 12, 10, and 16 were on the regressive side. More than a year after the start of the pandemic, the reports showed the deceleration and regression in the achievement of the SDGs and their targets. 

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) report, 13 out of the 17 SDGs are adversely impacted by the pandemic including SDGs 1 (No Poverty); 2 (Zero Hunger); 3(Good Health and Well-being); 4 (Quality Education); 5 (Gender Equality); 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation); SG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy); SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth); SDG 10 (Reduced Inequality); SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities); SDG 13 (Climate Action); SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions); and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). 

Livelihood and sources of income were disrupted, with the poor and informal settlers being greatly affected. Many households earning below PhP10,000 pesos a month reportedly lost all income during the lockdown. An estimate of 10.9 million workers, which accounts for 35% of the total employment in the country, has their livelihood destroyed. Globally, the pandemic forced 70% of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to shut down their operations.

Garavaglia and the UNDP call for a COVID-19 response that is centered on the well-being and empowerment of the people. This should be supplemented with the need for a reset in policy mindset and practices, inclusive and accountable government institutions, increased investment in social protection and insurance, and a stronger digital infrastructure. Gaveglia urged the government to be at the forefront of the pandemic response. It is the government’s task to ensure the public that needs are being met, especially during these times of uncertainty.

To attain the SDGs, the UNDP prompts the active participation of all sectors of the society, including the private sectors and civil societies. Gaveglia stressed the importance of creating quality space for discussions and sharing practical experiences with an emphasis on turning knowledge into public goods. 

 

In line with the initiatives to encourage and recognize private sector engagement in the achievement of SDGs, the ECCP featured the soft launch of its first-ever 2021 Europa Awards and Call for Nominations that will be held on June 10, 2021. The 2021 Europa Awards aims to promote and recognize companies with exceptional performance and contributions in promoting sustainability in line with the global standards and the Philippine Development Plan.

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