the philippine sustainability challenge


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    LIKAS-KAYANG KAPALIGIRAN projects in response to Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home

    Strategies for a Transformational Approach Fr. Benigno P. Beltran, SVD

    Lead Coordinator Philippine Sustainability Challenge

  • Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life. (Pope Francis, Laudato Si: On Care For Our Common Home, #148)

    Executive Summary:

    The Philippine Sustainability Challenge (PSC) is a network of people and organizations which connect, share and learn about sustainable development. They also share resources, strategies and innovative approaches to meet the challenges of sustainable development in the Philippines.

    The PSC supports the spirit of Pope Francis encyclical on the environment Laudato Si!: Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life. This is in response to Pope Francis social encyclical calling on every person on earth to help achieve achieve sustainability: What

  • kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? (no. 160)

    An encyclical is a letter that is a teaching document by the Holy Father. A social encyclical applies the consistent, traditional moral teachings of the Church to the social and economic challenges of the current day. The title of Pope Francis social encyclical, Laudato Si is taken from the first line of the the canticle of St. Francis of Assisi, Laudato Si, mi Signore, or Praise be to you, my Lord. In this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.

    The subtitle of the encyclical is On Care For Our Common Home. In the words of Pope Francis: The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change (# 13). The social encyclical declares that human-induced climate change is a scientific reality and its control a moral imperative for humanity.

    Pope Francis called not only on Catholics but on all people of goodwill, no matter what the race, creed or nationality to take up the sustainability challenge: I urgently appeal . . . for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all (# 14). He goes on to say that, Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone (# 93). In his speech to the the US Joint House of Congress, September 24, 2095, Pope Francis declared: Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.

    This collaboration is needed, according to Pope Francis, because, Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society (# 91). He continues: A global consensus is essential for confronting the deeper problems, which cannot be resolved by unilateral actions on the part of individual countries. Such a consensus could lead, for example, to planning a sustainable and diversified agriculture, developing renewable and less polluting forms of energy, encouraging a more efficient use of energy, promoting a better management of marine and forest resources, and ensuring universal access to drinking water (no. 164).

    The concrete response to the call of Pope Francis will be implemented by the PSC through the attainment of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals. It should be the government that is primary implementor, in collaboration with corporations, civil society

  • and religious institutions: Public pressure has to be exerted in order to bring about decisive political action. Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups, must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls. Unless citizens control political power national, regional and municipal it will not be possible to control damage to the environment. Local legislation can be more effective, too, if agreements exist between neighboring communities to support the same environmental policies. (no. 179)

    In the year 2000, 189 member-states of the United Nations signed the Millennium Declaration. Eight Millennium Development Goals were identified, with 18 specific targets and 48 indicators to be achieved. These were used as a major reference point for international development cooperation. The goals were targeted to be achieved by 2015. Many of these goals will be not attained as 2015 ends.

    For the Philippines, achieving the MDGs would have meant mean more than 10 million people lifted out of poverty; 240,000 more children reaching their fifth birthday; the lives of 12,000 mothers saved; 6.7 million more people given access to safe drinking water.

    The Tondo Millennium Challenge was put up to achieve the MDGs in Tondo, Manila as shown in Fig. 1 below.

    Figure 1. JPIC Tondo projects combined aim to a5ain the Millennium Development Goals in the area.

  • The Philippine Sustainability Challenge grew out of the Tondo Millennium Challenge. In the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20) in June of 2012, the Millennium Development Goals were changed into Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN Post-2015 Development Agenda sets out a universal program to eradicate extreme poverty from the face of the earth by 2030, and deliver on the promise of sustainable development. In light of this, the plan to help attain the Philippine Sustainability Challenge will be channelled through the activities of three social enterprises which started in Smokey Mountain, the former dumpsite in Tondo, Manila.

    The UN General Assemblys Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals forwarded to the Assembly its proposal for a set of goals that consider economic, social and environmental dimensions to improve peoples lives and protect the planet for future generations at the conclusion of the Groups thirteenth and final session at UN Headquarters on Saturday, 19 July, 2014. This set of goals will be finalized on September 25, 2015.

    The proposed sustainable development goals, and which the Philippine Sustainability Challenge would like to work for, are:

    Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

  • Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

    The Philippine Sustainability Challenge aims to create an ecosystem that is primed for collective impact, an environment where interdependent stakeholders can perform their individual roles optimally and collaborate with each other effectively. It advocates a highly structured approach to collaboration and highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder approaches in solving large-scale social problems.

    Successful collective action follows only when we tackle all parts of a problem together. We have to synchronize our efforts or we will all be swallowed up in the deluge. The ambitious targets of the Sustainable Development Goals would not be achieved without collaboration that is structured and effective. A weak ecosystem counters efforts for collective impact.

    Until there is an enabling environment that allows all stakeholders - non-governmental organizations, corporations, foundations, philanthropists, media, and the government - to work together as a system toward one or more goals, collective impact will remain elusive. Organizations, often singularly focused on progr