UN Philippines supports crafting of Global SDG report
29 November 2022
The Global Sustainable Development Report aims to provide evidence-based guidance on global sustainable development issues
Manila, 29 November 2022--UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez addressed today an Asia-Pacific regional consultation workshop that was convened in aid of the preparation of the Global Sustainable Development Report 2023.
The GSDR aims to strengthen the science-policy interface and to provide evidence-based guidance on global sustainable development issues and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The report is an important instrument to inform the deliberations at the quadrennial Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit (to be held in September 2023), where it is presented to heads of state, who take stock on the progress towards the 2030 Agenda. The 2023 report will be launched at the half-way point on the 2030 Agenda when decision-makers will be looking for practical solutions that can accelerate progress.
The message (as prepared) of Mr. Gonzalez is as follows:
With only eight years left to 2030, the UN Secretary General has called for “an urgent rescue effort” for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which we are at risk of not achieving. For our region – the Asia-Pacific – the UN ESCAP SDG Progress Report for 2022 put it in simpler and more sobering terms: “The region is not on track to achieve any of the SDGs.” At the current pace of progress, the Asia Pacific region will only attain the SDGs in 2065. For the Philippines, similar to other countries worldwide, progress on achieving SDGs was significantly derailed by global challenges such as COVID-19, Conflict and Climate Change. The Philippine Statistics Authority, in its latest report, noted that that 13 SDG targets that had been previously been on track regressed in 2022.
The 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) to be launched next year is therefore very timely as we reach the half-way point of the 2030 Agenda. We need practical solutions that can accelerate progress on the SDGs and make up for lost ground. I am glad to know that the 2023 GSDR is being framed in this manner, with a scientific lens to provide evidence to guide decision-makers in reinvigorating country-led efforts on the SDGs.
I am confident that you will have very rich discussions over these next two days as you share experiences and lessons that will provide valuable inputs to the GSDR. As with any global development agenda, the real action happens at the national and subnational level as we collectively seek to localize the SDGs. But at this halfway point of the 2030 Agenda, we need to recognize even more explicitly that the national and subnational actors are leading the way on SDGs, so we therefore need to bring the local to the global. Many of you are practitioners, doing the work, day in and day out, to advance sustainable development, improve human wellbeing, make our food systems and energy systems more resilient, and leave a healthy planet and fulfilling life for future generations whether they live in cities or the countryside. It is your experiences—your successes and also your failures, the obstacles you have faced and the tools you used to overcome them— that we seek to capture for the GSDR and thus shape the second half of the 2030 Agenda.
In the spirit of sharing our local experiences in pursuing our global agenda, allow me to share briefly the UN Country Team’s efforts here in the Philippines. To strengthen the UN’s response to both long-standing and new inequalities and development challenges brought about by the pandemic, we updated our cooperation framework with the government in 2020 through the UN Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework for COVID-19 Recovery in the Philippines 2020-2023. In this revised document, we underscored the importance of addressing the causes of inequalities across all the three pillars of our strategy, namely People, Prosperity and Planet, and Peace. At present, we are in the process of updating our cooperation framework with the Philippines to align with the priorities of the new government under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to be outlined in the soon to be released Philippine Development Plan for 2023 to 2028. It will be another opportunity to pool our collective UN capacities, knowledge and resources to support the Philippines in the next six years in its challenging journey towards attaining the SDGs by 2030.
During these next two days, I hope our Philippine partners will be able to share with you their experiences and recommendations related to the three priority entry points for accelerating sustainable development in Asia that will be the focus of this conference, namely: (a) achieving energy decarbonization with universal access to energy; (b) promoting sustainable urban and peri-urban development; and (c) securing the global environmental commons.
On the part of the UN, we recognize that energy decarbonization is a complex matter that needs to take into account a country’s environmental, economic, technical, social and political aspects. In the Philippines, effective policies that are not fragmented need to be put in place to facilitate investments, financing, access to technology, and lifestyle changes. The UN is currently collaborating with the Philippine government to promote renewable energy adoption for productive activities in the seaweed value chain through a bankable public-private partnership model and will also be working with national and local governments to assist small and medium enterprises access financing for the adoption of energy efficiency approaches.
The UN is also helping secure the global environmental commons by working with the government and private sector industries address challenges in chemicals and wastes management and meet the country commitments to multilateral environmental agreements.
In closing, I would like to encourage the Independent Group of Scientists to keep the stories and examples you hear over these next two days in the front of your minds as you work toward the final draft of your report. The stories from the Asia-Pacific region and the other regions around the world will animate the recommendations that you include in your report and ensure that the GSDR is concrete and meaningful for Member States. I wish you the best in the coming months, and I look forward to the launch of the GSDR in September 2023 at the SDG Summit in New York.