Scaling up actions in priority areas key to hitting SDG targets – NEDA

The Philippine government must scale up actions in strategic priority areas aligned with the pillars of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 to accelerate progress in achieving the targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This challenge was one of the critical messages NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan provided during the United Nations (UN) Day Forum held at the Fairmont Makati on November 22, 2023.

“NEDA, guided by the contributions from other agencies, reviewed the Philippine Development Plan’s strategies to see which areas we could scale up with the UN’s assistance. We see these efforts reflected in what are now the Framework’s three strategic priorities,” said Secretary Balisacan.

The government’s chief socioeconomic planner also underscored how UN assistance enabled by the partnership defined under the recently signed United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) could boost efforts toward attaining national socioeconomic objectives.

First, Strategic Priority 1, which mirrors and builds upon the PDP pillar on “Developing and Protecting Capabilities of Individuals and Families,” prioritizes cooperation areas that would enhance the sensitivity of agriculture programs to improve the efficiency of marketing and distribution of nutritious foods.

“Given its expertise and extensive network, the UN can support this through research and technical advice that could enhance the country’s efforts in achieving food and nutrition security,” Balisacan said of this priority.

Strategic Priority 2, which mirrors the PDP pillar of “Transforming Production Sectors to Generate More Quality Jobs and Competitive Products,” prioritizes cooperation areas that would improve the skills architecture, enable a smooth school-to-work transition, and bridge the skills gap in the labor force.

Balisacan emphasized that the UN can support government-related programs by providing policy advice, technical assistance, and capacity building for multi-stakeholder partnerships. These intend to improve the country’s fundamentals in numeracy and literacy, ultimately translating into a dynamic and competitive workforce.

Lastly, Strategic Priority 3 prioritizes cooperation areas for mobilizing global and regional climate and biodiversity finance and public and private investments, including green investments. This priority reflects the PDP pillar on “Enabling Environment,” particularly accelerating climate action and strengthening disaster resilience.

“Again, the UN can contribute to the actions in these areas by leveraging international expertise, providing capacity-building support, and mobilizing the network for investments. Expanding its partnership, the UN can engage with more local government units (LGUs) in local resiliency planning and investment programming,” he stated.

Balisacan highlighted that the recently signed UNSDCF builds upon the foundations of the PDP 2023-2028, complements the government’s efforts to bolster progress in development, and signifies a renewed commitment to the country’s partnership with the UN.

“Our end goal remains clear: to focus our concerted efforts on directing resources and plans toward the lagging SDGs, utilizing the UNSDCF to enhance our capacity for coherent and effective development practices,” he said.