By Anna Leah E. Gonzales, April 5 2019; Manila Times

Image Credit to Asian Development Bank

The government is reviewing anew the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to track the country’s progress.

In a statement on Thursday, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the government’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) will be presented at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York City in July this year.

The VNR, led by the 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.

The review also aims 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.

The initial VNR said the government, through the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), was 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 readily available from the entire Philippine statistical system.

However, the report said monitoring the SDGs presents huge challenges for the entire statistical system, as well as its respective counterparts in UN member states. It said 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 to discuss the factors needed to meet the SDGs.

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