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.
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)
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)
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)
CRISIS PREVENTION AND RECOVERY
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)
ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY
Mangrove rehabilitation and replantation in disaster-prone coastal areas can help protect communities and villagers from storm surges and flooding
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.
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