April 04, 2019

The Philippine government is conducting a second review of the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in its bid to track the country’s progress.

The government’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) will be presented at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to be held in New York City in July 2019.

The VNR, led by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in partnership with the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), intends to share the country’s experiences, including successes, challenges, and lessons learned in line with its goal of accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It also seeks to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the realization of the SDGs.

“In conducting this review, the government is taking a whole-of-society approach. We are enlisting the participation of civil society organizations (CSOs), academe, and the private sector, apart from the national and local government units in crafting the report to UN,” NEDA Officer in Charge Adoracion M. Navarro said.

According to its initial VNR, the Philippine government, through the Philippine Statistics Authority, is improving its monitoring of the SDGs. To better gauge the country’s progress, the government has identified 103 SDG global indicators as well as 28 proxy and 25 supplementary indicators—a total of 156 indicators that are readily available from the entire Philippine Statistical System.

The report said, however, that monitoring the SDGs presents huge challenges for the entire statistical system, as well as its respective counterparts in UN member states. It added that the government must address data gaps for it to effectively monitor progress in reaching the SDGs.

“The process of achieving the SDGs should be carried forward by succeeding administrations as if in a relay. Every administration should build on the actions done by previous administrations in order to reach the goals in the end,” Navarro said.

In crafting the VNR, NEDA, with PIDS and UNICEF, conducted three regional consultation workshops in Pampanga, Davao, and Cebu on March 11, 13, and 15, respectively. These consultations also discussed the factors needed to meet the SDGs.

NEDA is likewise scheduled to spearhead a series of consultations with other major groups and stakeholders, such as children, youth, labor tripartite bodies, and CSOs.

Navarro said the government is also moving towards the localization of the SDGs with two local government units in Panabo City, Davao del Norte, and Carmona, Cavite, being piloted for the local VNR.

The VNR will be finalized by the second quarter of 2019, but its initial draft can be found online:  http://sdg.neda.gov.ph/voluntary-national-review-of-the-sdgs-2019/.

The Philippines is one of the 22 countries that submitted their first VNR report to the UN high-level forum in 2016.