Government of Myanmar visits the Philippines for knowledge exchange on the Sustainable Development Goals

Jul 7, 2017

Government of Myanmar delegation and Philippine Statistics Authority officials presenting the 17 SDGs.

Adopting the Sustainable Development Goals and its Principles into National and Sub-National Planning, Budgeting and Monitoring Frameworks

A delegation from the Government of Myanmar (GoM) visited the Philippines from 19 – 23 June 2017 and met with Philippine Government counterparts and civil society representatives to learn and share knowledge on the systematic integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in legislation, planning, advocacy, monitoring, and budgeting.

The visiting party included government officials from Myanmar’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Planning and Finance, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) staff from the Asia-Pacific Regional Hub in Bangkok and the Myanmar Country Office.

The Myanmar Government formed its SDG team in April composed of staff involved in planning and finance, statistical, budget and project appraisal and report sectors. The team has since participated in consultations and open exchange across ministries, parliament and with other countries in the region.

During their Philippines visit, Myanmar’s delegation sought different perspectives on and applications of how the SDGs strategies and 2030 Agenda principle of “leaving no one behind” were being integrated in various Philippine systems, namely data for decision-making, systems and policy coherence, multiple dimensions of development, implementation and budgeting, gender sensitivity, participatory processes. The team’s three-day visit to the Philippines focused on three key SDGs areas: 1) operationalization and integration; 2) strengthening and coordination; and 3) advocacy and localization.

The delegation met first with the Philippine House of Representatives (HoR) and were exposed to the legislative approach and SDG institutionalization. Representatives from the Philippine SDGs Committee Secretariat discussed different forms of congressional oversight in terms of SDG-integrated legislation. Both Philippine and Myanmar sides also highlighted the administrative challenges of aligning the legislative and executive arms of government in institutionalization and implementation, the oversight of local government, and reconciling the United Nation’s and the country’s own sets of development indicators.

In a meeting with National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Myanmar delegates were briefed on the Philippine Development Plan (2017-2022) (PDP) which is the basis for budget appropriations and the core of SDG operationalization.

At the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the delegation learned about the centralized statistical agency’s role in conducting surveys, censuses and administrative systems, and promoting data disaggregation in the Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDGs. PSA also gave an overview of their Big Data initiatives to strengthen relationships with private sector stakeholders.

The group also met with the Philippine Resource Reconstruction Movement and the United Nations Civil Society Advisory Committee (UNCSAC), where they learned more about the efforts and challenges at the grassroots level of ensuring the participation and representation of civil society in legislation, budgeting and implementation, and delivery in SDG integration.

The Department of Budget and Management also briefed the Myanmar delegates on how fiscal targets are determined based on the budget priorities framework in the Philippine Development Plan. There was a lively exchange between both sides discussing budget reform, SDGs language in budgeting, and how DBM coordinates across agencies in its efforts to remain transparent in its SDGs endeavors.

 

The final day of the mission involved a joint meeting with representatives from the Local Government Academy (LGA), the Science Municipality of Munoz and the City of Pasay, and UNDP Philippines. The City of Pasay and the Science City of Munoz showcased how they implement Community-Based Monitoring Systems (CBMS) to collect pertinent, disaggregated baseline development data that is then used as entry points in the transition from MDG-FACES (Millennium Development Goals-Family-based Actions for Children and their Environs in the Slums) to SDG-FACES. This SDG localization process is characterized by institutional development, city-wide multi-stakeholder consultations, and the formation of city teams tasked with identifying local demands and their corresponding targets.

UNDP Philippines presented the SDG Localization Dashboard, a simple, web-based diagnostic toolkit used to localize the SDGs at the subnational level in the Asia-Pacific region. The online dashboard draws quantitative and qualitative development data from local, national and international institutions, that is then used to assess, analyze, layer and visualize data sets to paint a comprehensive picture of the local context. In this way, the tool unifies SDG localization goals of technical advancement, assessing SDG readiness, promoting multi-stakeholder partnerships, and tracking SDG implementation at the local level.

“We appreciated the dynamic discussions we had with the officials of the Government of the Philippines at both national and local level and representatives from the civil society association. We shared our commitments to make all possible efforts to implement the SDGs and contribute to achieving better lives of people we serve. We look forward to our continuous knowledge exchange and learning from each other," said Hyeran Kim, UNDP Myanmar's Development Planning and Effectiveness Specialist.

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