PCSD’s Rio+20 consultations and round table discussions

PCSD’s Rio+20 consultations and round table discussions

Local and Vocal

The Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), to craft the country’s contribution to the upcoming Rio+20 Conference, consulted the civil society, government and industries from the national and regional levels on their experiences in the planning and implementation of the global agenda toward sustainable development in their areas.

The series of meetings sought to harmonize the preparations for the landmark UN conference of the country’s various stakeholders led by PCSD, as well as to strengthen existing sustainable growth efforts, by gathering their thoughts and identifying local issues. All these inputs would result in the Philippines’ Rio+20 Report outlining the country’s position in the conference.

Agriculture and fisheries, environmental and natural resources, infrastructure covering energy, water and waste, green cities and green industries served as key sectors identified and commented on by the participants. These echo Rio+20’s battle cry for a green economy and a stronger institutional framework for sustainable development. The two themes also place emphasis on poverty eradication, especially in developing countries.

The interactive, lively consultations and discussions brought up key difficulties, recommendations, aspirations, and assessment of the country’s adaptation of the sustainable development campaign in the past years. They have also become venues to explore the concept of green economy and revealed the need to fill the gaps in policy and implementation.

Poverty has been the chronic issue identified by different sectors, as it hampers whole human development, which is the core of sustainability. Actions done by local government and civil sectors within communities, especially those that address the lack of education and training, help ease the plight of the poor. Also heard from the meetings was a common demand to fortify the institutional framework for sustainable development from the ground up.

Reactors and consultative bodies agreed that to fortify the institutional framework, sustainable development as a concept can be made more mainstream, that processes and practices in the above sectors have to reflect it more.

Aspiring for and inquiring into green economy while relating their experiences, participants shared what they think are the main features of a green economy coming from their respective fields.
In broad strokes, these are objectives and operational statements brought up in the rounds with the following key sectors of green economy in the country.

Agriculture and fisheries. One of sustainable development’s primary goals is food security. To achieve this, it was agreed that the country needs to maximize existing resources such as idle lands and agricultural zones, as well as fulfill the need for more hands and minds to work as professionals in the field. Community participation and local support for farmers, fisherfolk and trainees are notable means in the drive to start green economy from the grassroots.

Environmental and natural resources. High-functioning and diverse ecosystems need to be enhanced and sustained because they are essential to a green economy and are means to improve economic security. The Philippines works towards this through relevant laws and policies, as well as ordinances against illegal fishing and deforestation. Monitoring and reporting on the conditions and usage of the country’s resources can be strengthened, while more efficient and appropriate technologies, tools and technical knowledge can avoid resources’ depletion.

Infrastructure. The Philippines can be proud of its widespread use of renewable, sustainable energy such as hydro power, although sustainable transportation and domestic consumption are yet to be introduced. Individuals and families also need to be reached through information campaigns and special topics in schools’ curricula on energy consumption, efficiency and related issues they can play a part in. At the same time, alternative source of energy still need to be launched for far flung areas without access to power.

Potable water is a basic human need, which makes its access, quality and treatment essentials feature of green economy. Watersheds and other sources need to be protected and efficiently managed, while regulations have to be put in place. Practices and measures of households and communities to conserve and recycle water, therefore, remain to be a worthwhile campaign.

Waste reduction through the worldwide mantra of the 3Rs–reduce, recycle and reuse–remains a key challenge in all corners of the countries. Ordinances to minimize the use of plastic have already been enacted the past years, but green advocates call for a wider and stricter regulation of industries that produce toxic wastes and non-biodegradable items. At the same time, a massive rehabilitation of dump sites and management of landfills need to be accommodated.

Green cities. Since an increasing urbanization and population density cannot be avoided as people move from towns to more industrialized areas for jobs, the concept of green cities encompass a wide range of fields–from transportation, consumption, energy, land use to technology, architecture, and ecosystems. General concerns in building greener urban zones are the introduction of viable transportation that does not contribute to air pollution and uses alternative sources of energy. Lifestyles of its populace are perhaps the more integral characteristic of green cities, as they are more conscious of the drive for sustainable growth.

Green industries. Considering that striking a balance between social, economic and environmental aspects of development is a true challenge, the crusade toward green industries call for massive cooperation and participation of both private and public sectors. Businesses have to imbibe the spirit of sustainability, especially those that have large assets and have the potential to exploit natural resources and infrastructure. Industries have to keep in mind the desired aim to lift millions out of poverty through providing jobs and promoting education, while enhancing environmental protection and social justice.
PHL in RIO + 20

Summary of Philippines Rio+20 Report
PCSD’s Rio+20 consultations and round table discussions
The Rio+20 Conference
What Went Before: The 1992 Rio Earth Summit

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