UN Philippines chief said, "“We are seven years closer to the 2030 deadline to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."
MANILA, 8 FEBRUARY 2023—A gathering of officials from government, development, diplomatic, and private sector opened today (8 February) with a call to accelerate financing that can help meet the country’s development goals within globally- and nationally-set timelines.
“We are seven (7) years closer to the 2030 deadline to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the same time, we are racing against a fast-approaching 17-year deadline to achieve the aspirations spelled out in the country’s very own Ambisyon Natin 2040,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, United Nations (UN) Philippines Resident Coordinator, during the Partners’ Event for the Joint Programme on Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) held at the Marco Polo Hotel in Manila. “This means we should collectively ponder a complete and integrated approach to financing the Future We Want.”
While financing and development assistance for human development and climate action grew considerably in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gonzalez said, “There is still not enough capital that goes to addressing challenges in education, healthcare, and resilient infrastructure that have lingered before the pandemic. Financing sustainable development needs to scale up.”
Gonzalez invited the event participants to see how evidence generated from JP INFF studies and exercises can inform approaches to mobilize resources towards realizing the country’s economic and social transformation agenda. This, in light of a new medium-term Philippine Development Plan (PDP) that lies within the 2030 timeline for the SDGs.
“As we operationalize the PDP,” Gonzalez said, “our collective efforts on financing the SDGs will play a vital role in that resources will be available to support the attainment of the country’s development outcomes.”
Lisa Kurbiel, Head of the Joint SDG Fund Secretariat, congratulated the JP INFF for the completion of assessments and tools under the Programme. In a video message, she expressed hope that the catalytic investments provided by the Joint SDG Fund would bring in exponential sums of money into the Philippines’ development priorities.
“We also hope the Philippines’ INFF continues to grow, engaging new partners in civil society, private sector, IFIs [International Financing Institutions], and even more government ministries—because only then can we rescue the SDGs,” Kurbiel added.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the lead government counterpart in the JP INFF, acknowledged the latter’s initiatives in generating evidence and insights that can accelerate action on, and the financing of urgent development challenges.
Among JP INFF’s initiatives cited by NEDA is the development of tools that capture public investments in national-level programs aligned with sustainable development priorities, as well as local government spending for child-focused programs.
Edwine Carrié, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the lead agency behind the exercise, said, “The [budget tagging] exercise allowed us to explicitly and consciously scrutinize the various programs and projects we implement in order to see their impact on the SDGs and the sectors which we aim to empower through these Goals.”
Drawing from lessons from and experiences in other countries, and the Philippines’ own Climate Budget Tagging systems, the SDG Budget Tagging exercise was also designed to build the capabilities of government agencies to adopt the system such as hands-on training, and a help desk to provide one-on-one coaching support.
Public finance experts Dr. Rosario Manasan and Dr. Maria Victoria Raquiza developed the SDG tagging tool and applied it in capturing budget allocations that are aligned with Goals 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) and 4 (Quality Education). On behalf of the consultants, Carrié shared a roadmap that can facilitate the integration of SDG tagging into the government’s investment planning and budgeting systems.
“As we see the importance of the exercise,” Carrie said, “we hope to see continued support and concerted actions from all of us, especially our key partners from the government, to adopt the tool and, consequently, ensure effective allocation of public resources to the SDGs and increase ownership of national agencies in their SDG response.”
Other outputs presented during Day 1 include studies on maximizing the potential of a widening youth demographic to steer an upward economic trajectory for the country. These studies include a Population and Development Situation Analysis to inform the best population and policy scenario for economic growth, a comprehensive and costed National Action Plan to Prevent Teenage Pregnancies, and a study on the impact of COVID-19 on young Filipinos as future drivers of development.
The Development Finance Assessment, to be presented tomorrow by Dr. Celia Reyes, former Philippine Institute for Development Studies President and JP INFF Consultant, would report the country’s progress in achieving the SDGs.
The pace of the country’s progress provides a starting point to cost the gaps in achieving the SDGs. As an example, Dr Reyes estimated the cost needed for programs that will help achieve Good Health under SDG 3 to at least P635 billion from now until 2030.
Supported by the Joint SDG Fund, the Joint Programme has aimed at maximizing the concept and value of integrated national financing frameworks (INFF) in order to unlock financing flows that can support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the national priorities that dovetail with these Goals, in an integrated manner.
The Programme is being co-implemented by three participating UN agencies, namely the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Population Fund, and UN Development Programme (UNDP) as the lead; under the auspices of the UN Resident Coordinator Office, and with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as the lead government counterpart. [Ends]
Background on the Joint Programme on INFF Partners’ Event
Launched in 2021, the Joint SDG Fund Joint Programme on Reaping the Demographic Dividend and Managing the Socio-Economic Impact of COVID-19 by Applying an Integrated National Financing Framework in the Philippines (JP INFF) endeavored to apply the building blocks of the Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) to provide catalytic support towards a whole-of-government approach in achieving its development priorities.
The Project embarked on various exercises intended to support the SDG implementation in the country.