UNDP: Empowering Lives for a Resilient Philippines

Last Wednesday, when I joined a seated discussion amongst bloggers who advocate  the cause of  @UNPhilippines / @WorldWewantPh; I  had the opportunity  to  listen and  converse with  UN’s world leaders. Most would call them  Country  Director or UN representatives but for me  they are heroes living among us and giving  inspiration most especially to the  light of the idea that “It can be done”.  We began our circle of  discussions with  Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka, United Nations Development Program country  director for Philippines.  It was a little bit  difficult for me to  understand  him because of his accent but eventually I  followed what he  was saying. In essence he  was trying to introduce  what  UNDP does and how they  do it.  There’s a few points that  I  would like to  emphasize on his talk. He  specifically mentioned first that  development is a multi-faceted pursuit that  can  be outlined as: physical,  social and economical; that’s at least  if how you  would measure an entire country’s development.  The idea actually  goes more and more complex down to the individual and personal experience.  He intends to  portray that  it is not a one hit  shot  of  success or  failure  but is actually  a result of  meshed efforts that  are directed towards the overall human development. UNDP’s motto  in  our country  is “Buhay  Panatag  Buhay  Matatag”: Empowering Lives  for a Resilient Philippines.  You  can check more about it  @ www.undp.org.ph or  and www.facebook.com/undp.ph.



UNDP’s main  focus  in the  country  is  among five areas: Poverty  Reduction, Democratic Governance, HIV/AIDS, Crisis Prevention and Recovery and Environment and Energy.



Pledge  against Poverty
Pledge against Poverty

Members of indigenous people’s groups in Isabela City in Basilan pledge to contribute to poverty eradication during the 2009 Global Stand Up campaign, which earned for the Philippines a place in the Guinness Book of World Records and a special citation at the 2010 MDG Summit. (Photo: City Government of Isabela)








cq5dam.web.460.306 (2)
Indigenous Voices


Leaders from indigenous communities in the Philippines speak at the National Indigenous People’s Summit in 2011. Indigenous people are one of the marginalized sectors in the Philippines. UNDP works to strengthen democratic systems in order to empower this sector to claim their rights. (Photo: UNDP Philippines)







AIDS Memorial
AIDS Memorial


Lotus ceremony in an AIDS Candlelight Memorial commemorating people who died of AIDS. The Philippines is one of nine countries globally with more than 25% increase in HIV incidence since 2001. (Photo: Eliot Avena/UNDP Philippines)









Peace Covenant
Peace Covenant

Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Luiza Carvalho, Resident Coordinator of United Nations and Ousmane Dione of World Bank in a ceremonial exchange of letters to launch the Facility for Advisory Support for Transition Capacities (FASTRAC) on April 29, 2013 at Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao. (Photo: Toto Lozano)








Mangrove Rehabilitation
Mangrove Rehabilitation



Mangrove rehabilitation and replantation in disaster-prone coastal areas can help protect communities and villagers from storm surges and flooding








Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka UNDP country  director, Philippines.
Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka
UNDP country director, Philippines.

When  I  was listening to  Mr. Tanaka, he made me realize that no matter how much  effort be it local, national or international ; it is but close  to impossible that  the Philippine’s  be disaster-proof considering  the  number of  natural  calamities and not-to-mention man-made  ruins  our country  has, is  and will continue to  experience. Reading on their  report  about UNDP’s Ten Top Results  on  efforts from 2005-2011, it is both  trivial and alarming that  we have the two of the longest running armed conflicts in Asia- the Moro and communists  insurgencies. These have  afflicted parts of the  country for the  greater part of the past four  decades. Despite  efforts to establish a lasting peace, the conflicts are  characterized by  persistent, periodic escalations of violence. Just that  alone is  a major part of development, how can  a country  continue  to progress if  the object  of  everyday  living  is war  and violence?  I have no  formal education and  training in politics  and governance but  as  a human being, moreover as a Filipino  citizen, it saddens me that  our  fellow  countrymen in  Mindanao are prioritizing power and sovereignty  over the actual basic needs of their  people.  One example  is the paid men  who  joined the Zamboanga  outrage to the order of  Nur Misuari, they  were promised at least  10,000 Php take-home money  for  every  men who will  fight  the government.

Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals

I’m thinking that most of these  are fathers and elder brothers in  a family  that  saw the  possibility of  having  food on their  table,  clean water to  drink or  a decent shelter for  their loved ones and these are reasons that if they  actually  had the option and  easy  access to wouldn’t have made them  join the  rage  of  violence in the province. With all of this  said, UNDP’s object  in line with the Millennium  Development Goals for our country  is to  empower lives for a more  Resilient Philippines.

Resiliency  is  defined as  an occurrence of rebounding or springing back. One highlight of this  ideal on  our  country’s perspective is  our  capacity to  bounce back considering the magnitude of climate change our country  is  experiencing. Mr. Tanaka did mention that  a matter  of 2 degrees Celsius increase in  temperature dramatically affects our country down to the viability of the very  food  we eat, not to mention the  widening gap  between extremes of  weather conditions  have been inflicting irreversible  damages on our  natural  human and  environmental resources. The question raised and the challenge held up by these to  UNDP and especially to our  own government is,  how good can  we bounce back? and if we do, how can  we make this  part of our development as a country? last is, how do we keep it  sustainable? The agency  have been working on some great projects  alongside with  the government, I couldn’t have  explained  it  better  than they  would so please visit www.undp.org.ph. All these are in line with  the MDG by  2015.







Watch out  for  my  articles about  FAO  and WFO coming this  week