Opening Message of UNDP Country Director, Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka

18 Jun 2013

MDGs Progress Report Technical Workshop, Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila

Deputy Director General Emmanuel Esguerra of NEDA;
Director Lyn Capones of NEDA Social Development Staff;
Dr. Celia Reyes, Consultant for the formulation of the fifth MDG Progress Report;
Country Representative Julie Hall, World Health Organization;
Guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen

A pleasant good morning to everyone here participating in the technical workshop on the 5th MDGs Progress Report. I wish to extend my special thanks to NEDA for spearheading this initiative and for always being a strong partner in charting the country’s progress on the MDGs. 

The preparation of the MDGs National Progress Report has taken place every three (3) years since the MDGs were launched in 2000. The 2013 progress report will be the country’s fifth (5th) and will contribute to the  comprehensive global progress review on the MDGs that will culminate into a High-Level event to be held in parallel with the UN General Assembly in September. 

With 2015 fast approaching, the Philippines is faced with the twin tasks of making as much progress as possible on the MDGs, while also articulating post-2015 development priorities that would build upon the results of the country’s experience with the MDGs. This 2013 MDG Country Progress Report should therefore motivate a final push for the MDGs while also contributing to the final framing of the post-2015 development agenda.

The 2013 MDG Progress Report is expected to:

  1. Take stock at the country level of status and trends in MDG achievement, retaining focus on success, challenges and bottlenecks to progress at the national and sub-national levels;
  2. Document key milestones with regard to the adoption/adaptation of the MDGs in the country and provide a critical assessment of the value added of the MDGs for national/sub-national development;
  3. Provide an analysis of emerging development challenges faced by the country and how these affect the MDG progress, including inequalities along various dimensions, and especially what they mean for the unfinished MDG agenda; and,
  4. Extract lessons from the implementation of the MDG agenda to inform the post-2015 development agenda, including establishing baselines and recording documented policy priorities for key emerging issues such as resilience, food security, changing health profiles, inequality among others.

The most recent assessment found that the country is on track to meet the 2015 MDG targets with respect to providing educational opportunities for girls, increasing the share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector, reducing infant and under-five mortality, reversing the incidence of malaria, increasing tuberculosis detection and cure rates, and increasing the proportion of households with access to sanitary toilet facilities.

At the same time, there need to exert greater efforts to accelerate progress in poverty reduction, universal primary education, maternal health and HIV/AIDS.

From the assessment, the country has implemented a significant number of initiatives to create an environment to facilitate the attainment of the MDGs. There is evident commitment at all levels of government with the numerous policies and programs implemented. The concerted efforts of other stakeholders including the private sector, civil society groups, community partners and international development partners have positive impacts in strengthening the support to the MDGs.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda consultations have started in 2012 and the Philippines was chosen as one of the countries to deepen the discussions on the World We Want when the MDGs end in 2015. The national consultations held were intended to foster an inclusive multi-stakeholder process and to advocate for a Post-2015 development agenda informed by national and local priorities.

In summary, the Post-2015 Development Agenda Country Report that was submitted to the UN Headquarters last May 15 highlighted the five major themes that the Philippines identified:

  1. Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion;
  2. Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management;
  3. Accountable, Responsive and Participatory Governance;
  4. Peace and Security; and
  5. Fair and Stable Order Based on International Rule of Law.

These agenda are very well considered in the High-Level Panel Report which spelled a more detailed themes and universal goals and national targets.

The 2013 MDG review therefore will be a defining moment to spur collective actions to accelerate and sustain progress towards the MDGs over the final two (2) years in the timeline that culminates in 2015. This review will undoubtedly provide meaningful reflections and inputs to enrich the discussions and finalization of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

In today’s workshop, I enjoin all of you to make that valuable contribution that will help analyze and explain the current status of the MDGs in the Philippines so that we can understand why the status is as it is now, identify bottlenecks and overcome these with only 2 years left to the 2015 deadline. And equally important, I enjoin you to provide recommendations on how the Philippines can move forward towards an agenda or plan of action that will result in the achievement of the goals in 2015 as well as galvanizing the country’s Post-2015 Agenda.

With the strong political commitment of the current administration as well as the unwavering passion of the civil society, private sector and community partners, the country is in the best position to use its resources and ensure that it is able to overcome the constraints and obstacles that are hindering progress on the MDGs.

To close, let me quote Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in his speech last April to underscore the remaining 1,000 days of action to 2015. I quote: “We continue to struggle against extreme poverty, inequality and insufficient access to sanitation. Climate change remains a clear and present danger. Now is the time for MDG Momentum. We now have less than 1,000 days to close the gaps and accelerate action. That means scaling up success, empowering women and girls, keeping fiscal promises, and mobilizing people from governments to the grassroots."—end of quote. 

Winning the MDGs by 2015 means working together and tapping all the opportunities and managing resources we have at hand. 

Maraming salamat and Mabuhay.