Mainstreaming sustainable development: Evolving perspectives and challenges from the Philippine experience
Record of initiatives
Mainstreaming means bringing an idea into the mainstream of development thinking, or explicitly considering the concept in the formulation of development policies, plans and programmes. Over the course of 10 years, the PCSD has pursued the mainstreaming of sustainable development through a number of initiatives, among others:
- The UNDP Capacity-Building Initiative for the PCSD assisted the PCSD in the formulation of the PA 21 and in building national and local government capacities in integrating the principles of sustainable development into development plans and programmes. Many of the initiatives undertaken under the auspices of the project were of the nature of information, education, communication and advocacy because it was deemed that developing a critical mass of sustainable development constituents was the first critical step in building the requisite capacity for integration. Through the project, the PCSD produced and disseminated a primer on PA 21, in various local dialects, as well as a layman’s version of the document. Numerous training and seminar workshops were also conducted for government agencies and stakeholder groups. The project also assisted the formation of an SD Speakers’ Bureau. Overall, the main achievement of the project was helping to elevate the degree of awareness of stakeholders on the imperatives of sustainable development;
- The UNDP Integrated Environmental Management for Sustainable Development- Subprogramme on Integration of Environment into Socio-Economic Policies was primarily geared towards formulating tools and instruments for the effective integration of environment, social and economic dimensions in policymaking. The subprogramme supported, among others, the formulation and publication of a sourcebook of sustainable development indicators, review of market-based instruments for SD, and development of an “action-impact matrix”13 for the agriculture sector which explored the interconnectedness of the policy actions across sectors; and,
- The Governance for Philippine Agenda 21 (GOPA 21) was designed to be a comprehensive governance reform for sustainable development. The subprogramme on localization, supported by the Canadian International Development Agency, facilitated the creation of local sustainable development councils and provided support for the formulation of regional, provincial, municipal and community Agenda 21s (or local Agenda 21s). It pilot-tested a multi-modal approach to institutionalizing sustainable development by experimenting on various structural mechanisms. The project was also instrumental in supporting the development of a sustainable integrated area development framework and guidebook that was adopted to facilitate the integration of SD in local planning processes. The localization initiative was followed through with a UNDP-assisted subprogramme on mainstreaming sustainable development in local plans and legislations. Through the subprogramme, the PCSD endeavoured to develop core SD messages that would provide the template for the mainstreaming process. More recently, the PCSD embarked on the development of an operational framework and practical tools and methodologies for mainstreaming.