• Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Member State
  • Name: Philippines
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Emerging challenges (2 hits), emerging issues (0 hits),

Full Submission


Inputs for the Compilation Document

This Report is a preliminary document outlining the emerging elements of the Philippines? position for the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012 in Rio Janeiro, Brazil.

Philippine Council for Sustainable Development



Inputs for the Compilation Document


The Philippines is one of the forerunners of sustainable development in Asia. Several months after the Rio Earth Summit, the Philippine Government, through Executive Order 15 issued by then President Fidel V. Ramos on September 1992, mandated the creation of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) to review and ensure the implementation of the commitments the Philippines made in the light of the UNCED. With this, the Philippines was considered as one of the pioneers in the Asia-Pacific region in establishing a multi-stakeholder body that will ensure the operationalization of sustainable development as embodied in Agenda 21.

The PCSD spearheaded the formulation of the Philippine Agenda 21, commonly known as PA21, the country?s blueprint for sustainable development and a translation of Agenda 21 in the national context. It envisions a better quality of life for all through the development of a just, moral, creative, spiritual, economically vibrant, caring, diverse yet cohesive society characterized by appropriate productivity, participatory and democratic processes and living in harmony within the limits of the carrying capacity of nature and the integrity of creation.

The Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) is a multi-stakeholder body which provides policy advice to appropriate bodies on sustainable development issues of national interest. It is convened to ensure the implementation of the country?s commitments in light of UNCED commitments and assure the integration of the interplay of social, economic and environmental concerns in the Philippine national policies, plans and programs involving all sectors of the society.


On 5 August 2011, President Benigno S. Aquino III issued Memorandum Order No.22 which directs the PCSD to make the necessary preparations for an effective country participation in the 20th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in Brazil in June 2012. This Order ensures a multi-stakeholder participatory process in the preparation of the country?s assessment and positions for the Conference, calling on national and local government agencies, the civil

society, business and labor sectors to contribute to and participate in the country?s preparation for the Rio+20.

In line with this issuance, the PCSD convened a National Forum in July 2011 participated in various stakeholders from national government, business and private sectors and civil society organizations to achieve the following: (i) familiarity on the issues and dynamics regarding the Rio+20 Conference Themes; (ii) identification of the broad issues, challenges and opportunities in pursuing green economy in the Philippine context; (iii) organization of the Philippine working groups for the strategy papers and the assessment; and (iv) agreement on the critical next steps and key issues to be raised in succeeding Forums and Round Table Discussions.

The five Philippine Rio+20 working groups, convened to discuss in detail the elements of and issues surrounding the themes of the Rio+20 Conference as related to the sectors/themes of the working groups, are the following: (i) agriculture and fisheries; (ii) environment and natural resources; (iii) infrastructure (waste, water and energy); (iv) green cities (sustainable transport and urban development); and (v) green industries.

Following the National Forum, three sets of roundtable discussions from each of the working groups, and several PCSD meetings, the emerging country position on the Rio+20 themes have been gathered. The following chapters present these findings, lifting statements from positions of stakeholders as relevant.


The Rio+20 Conference seeks to answer, why, despite the presence of a global agenda for sustainable development, several economies have slowed down, accompanied by worsening poverty and unabated environmental degradation. It also aims to assess the progress and gaps in the implementation of agreed sustainable development commitments, secure renewed political commitment, and address new and Emerging challenges.

The lead up to Rio+20 should be able to harness and synergize the energies of CSOs, business groups and the government. This will ensure that sustainable development is responded to, with the end in view of empowering communities to take care of today?s and the future generation?s needs. There is a need to review agreements and assess how far they have been brought to life; visit the parameters and revise if and when necessary; and, open up new vistas in renewing efforts and recreating relationships and mindsets as well as listening to what communities have done to survive and be self reliant and sustainable in coping with poverty and disasters.

The Philippines reaffirms its commitment to sustainable development and regards the Rio+20 Conference as instrumental to reaching a new consensus and commitment from the nations of the world to develop a new and integrated approach to sustainable development. It is not just an environmental agreement nor an international governmental event, but rather, it is about promoting many more voluntary multi-stakeholder partnerships to create a vision and undertake actions: take stock, promote what works, adopt concrete goals and targets, and lay a foundation for a future of prosperity, peace, and sustainability.

Sustainable development is defined by Philippine Agenda 21 as ?the harmonious integration of a sound and viable economy, responsible governance, social cohesion and harmony and ecological integrity to ensure that development is a life-enhancing process?The ultimate aim of development is human development now and through future generations.?

The Philippines looks forward to the Rio+20 Conference strengthening the call for nations to move in a sustainable development path and moving forward the Millennium Development Goals after its 2015 timeline. The Rio+20 Conference should be able to identify specific goals and the corresponding action plan that will facilitate integration and tracking of progress of sustainable development down to the community level. The country supports the identification of a menu of options towards green economy that considers the need for differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries. The country puts premium on this important difference and therefore calls for appropriate regulatory mechanisms and market-based instruments to be put in place to provide an enabling environment for sustainable development. A results-based and action-oriented outcome document is anticipated.

The outcome document is expected to respond to Emerging challenges and recognize the need to move towards a sustainable development path. Identified actions that require renewed commitment include the following: (i) increased financial support; (ii) strengthening legislative policies to include incentive-based mechanisms (e.g., payment for ecosystem services, polluters pay principle); (iii) institutional strengthening and increased coordination among government and non-government sectors at all levels; (iv) transfer of technology and know-how; (v) increased awareness through information, education and communication campaigns; (vi) provision of support to research and development; and (vii) strengthening sustainable development monitoring and evaluation, including the accompanying indicators.


Green economy must be derived from and rooted in the objectives, spirit, principles and operationalization of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, and especially the Rio Principles and Agenda 21, supplemented as well by the Rio + 10 process and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

The Philippines considers green economy as the new rallying point for the better integration of the three pillars of sustainable development.

Green economy should ensure food security and promote investments to bolster its natural capital. Notwithstanding this, the Philippines is committed to achieve low ecological footprint and eco-efficient resource use in the transport, energy, waste and water sectors and to create climate-resilient agriculture and industry sectors.

Green economy should encourage sustainable consumption and production patterns as a tool and mechanism to achieve sustainable development. It should ensure environmental integrity and ecological resilience through enhanced and sustained ecosystem goods and services to push the development of the country towards inclusive and sustained growth.

A. Major concerns that must be addressed in the transition to green economy:

1. Green and cleaner production technology. Access, technology transfer, knowledge sharing and cooperation are important factors for developing countries to fill up the gaps on green and cleaner production technology. The identified early movers, specifically developed countries with

their resources, should develop the appropriate technologies and facilitate technology transfer, knowledge sharing and cooperation to assist the developing countries in their transition towards greener and cleaner production. The country also recommends that binding global institutional arrangements be agreed upon during the Rio+20 Conference in order to foster collaboration and cooperation in the field of green and cleaner

production technology among countries.

Major considerations in the transition to a green economy: access, technology, transfer, knowledge sharing and cooperation on green and cleaner production technology; financial assistance and green investments; capacity building; avoidance of trade protectionism; social dimension; green jobs and livelihood; peace and security

2. Financial assistance and green investment. A green finance window should be put in place to provide financial assistance, such as the establishment of a mine rehabilitation fund, in sustaining the country?s natural capital given the need to develop them to fuel economic growth in the countryside. In addition to the market and tax incentives that can be provided by the government, investments are necessary to enable the shift from the use of conventional to green and cleaner production technologies. For instance, there would still be unviable areas (off-grid areas) within developing countries that would require technological and financial aid from developed countries. Therefore, the effort of developed countries to scale up renewable energy in developing countries is a welcome effort. However, it should be carried out within a context that is sustainable and aligned with the developing countries? national priorities and strategies. The country believes that the greening of the business processes is a tenet of a green economy. This includes a regulatory and incentive framework that will

ensure the protection of the natural capital when investments are made in developing countries.

3. Capacity building. Developed countries should provide technical assistance to developing countries to help the latter achieve green economy in the context of SD and poverty eradication. This may include technical assistance and technological know-how in developing green and cleaner production technology for energy and industries, institutionalizing environmental accounting, developing green cities and implementing environmentally sustainable transport systems.

4. Trade. Discussions and appropriate recommendations and statements on the avoidance of trade protectionism and tying conditionalities to official development assistance should be made in the Conference. The Philippines, as a developing country, sees green economy consistent with upholding trade policies that prevent unfair competition that arises when countries protect their own production sectors through subsidies and when poorer countries? natural resources are used unfairly by developed countries. In addition, the country also sees the possible implication of green procurement policies on goods. The issue on possible blocking of products coming from developing countries that are not considered ?green? based on standards of developed countries should be carefully revisited. These standards should not be used as non-tariff barriers. An agreed accreditation, certification and eco-labelling of products should be established in order to avoid green trade protectionism.

5. Social dimension of green economy. The Philippines reiterates that strategies towards green economy as well as efforts to ?green? technology, policies and institutions must consider the social dimension, including biocultural diversity and heritage. In particular, indigenous peoples should be considered in policy and decision-making processes to protect their biocultural rights. Green economy is envisioned to be a people-centered development paradigm that promotes the people?s role as steward of the natural resources and as owners of the country?s domain, thus ensuring sustainability.

6. Green jobs and livelihood. For the Philippines, green economy should promote green, sustainable and decent jobs that are compliant with living

standards. A just transition to green jobs would mean that the transition process has to be inclusive of all stakeholders ─ protecting workers? rights and ensuring that employment and social cost of the transition are shared by all. In addition, international support on trainings and courses on green skills and competencies of workers, particularly those in the brown industries, should be provided. Further, green economy should facilitate the development of green livelihood and entrepreneurship by engaging the informal sector of industries to truly contribute to poverty reduction, social development and a better environment for all.

7. Peace and security. The country believes that green economy will only exist with peace and human security as one of the foundations. Green economy should facilitate a culture of peace, the promotion of human rights, acceptance of social diversity, and the primacy of the peace process at all times.

B. Key sectors of a green economy for the Philippines, including the broad objectives for each sector and some operational statements to transition into a green economy:

1. Agriculture and Fisheries

Green economy in the context of poverty alleviation considers food and nutrition security first and foremost. Green economy should not hamper the ability of the country to achieve these goals. While food sufficiency is a banner program of the government especially in food staples, responding to the food requirement of the people is still the top priority of the government.

5 key sectors of a green economy in the Philippines:

- agriculture and fisheries;

- environment and natural resources;

- infrastructure (energy, waster and water);

- green cities (sustainable transport and urban development); and

- green industries

Green economy in agriculture empowers smallholder famers who are the backbone of the food system.

Sustainable agriculture is a catalyzing force towards Green economy. Sustainable agriculture shall mean any

principle, method, practice or philosophy that aims to make agriculture economically viable, ecologically sound, equitable, culturally appropriate and grounded on holistic science.

Green economy follows nature?s law and thus works towards agro-ecological farming or an ecosystem-based farming as the way to sustain productivity.


Green economy ensures sustainable land management, putting a balance between indigenous and scientific technologies. It promotes the use of environment-friendly technologies (either indigenous or modern) that are socially acceptable and economically feasible.

Training young farmers is an important driver towards achieving sustainable agriculture and consequently green economy.

In the fishery sector, green economy institutionalizes good aquaculture practices to include socio-environmental standards as well as promotion of ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management (i.e., community-based coastal resource management).

2. Environment and Natural Resources

The environment and natural resources sector (ENR) is the fundamental and critical base for green economy and is critical in the planning process.

Green economy in the ENR sector ensures environmental integrity and ecological resilience. It ensures that the ecosystem goods and services are enhanced and sustained to improve economic security.


Environmental and social safeguards (e.g. rights based approach, equitable benefit sharing) must be ensured to achieve green economy in the sector.

Payment for environmental services to improve human well-being and social equity must be institutionalized and operationalized.

The development and use of environmentally-sound (e.g. know-how, procedure and goods/services) and appropriate technology must be encouraged.

Supporting mechanisms that will advance sustainable consumption and production patters in the ENR sector must be instituted.

3. Infrastructure


The energy sector is directed towards a low carbon future with energy efficiency and conservation as a way of life, and renewable energy as an important component of the energy mix.


The triple bottomline approach must be considered in the programs and projects of the energy sector - i.e, economic, social and environmental aspects are all factored-in.



Waste reduction, including the promotion and implementation of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), remains as the priority thrust.

The closure and rehabilitation of all open/controlled dumpsites will be pursued in support to the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The economic potential of waste will be highlighted considering the best practices in solid waste management. In line with this, solid waste management technologies, including technology to convert waste to energy, are needed.

Mainstreaming the informal waste sector in the national and local government plans and programs shall be pursued (just transition to green jobs).


Water is a basic life source and resource and is critical base for economic activities.


Greening the water sector entails the protection of remaining pristine water sources for potable water use. Efficiency measures and practices including, water recycling, re-use, treatment, and rainwater harvesting will be intensified. The development of surface water use will be encouraged while the use of groundwater will be regulated.

Issues on water quality, sources of pollution should be addressed and mechanisms such as polluters pay principle should be established.

4. Green Cities

With green cities, strategic spatial integration to promote global urban competitiveness, efficient transportation and communication network, and bring about an efficient settlement, production and service delivery system is envisioned, taking into account sustainable management of land and other natural resources and disaster risk reduction.

Green cities support sustainable (ekistic clusters) human settlements/communities with ecosystems-based SD organization and management. It highlights the rural-urban dichotomy and their interdependence and supports sustainable formats of land use, in which a scale of human settlement living in a habitat with the smallest scale of ecosystem is sustainably managed.


Green cities promote Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) in order to:

- Reduce annual growth rate of energy consumption and associated green house gas (GHG) and air pollutant emissions;

- Enhance sustainable mobility through the development of a viable market for EST; and

- Promote the shift towards the use of more sustainable transport modes of low carbon intensity, such as non-motorized transport and electronic vehicles (e-jeepneys & e-tricycles), including CNG buses.

Green cities apply selected KPIs of eco-cities that are relevant in the Philippine setting in terms of setting-up a criteria for greening communities/human settlements

- Potable tap water

- Non-traditional water sources

- Sustainable water consumption

- Quality water bodies

- Protection of Wetlands

- Renewable energy

- Low carbon emission

- Low waste generation

- Non-toxic waste treatment

- High native plant index

- Green trips

- Green space

- Green buildings

- High recycling rate

- Public housing

- High employment

- Good air quality

- Low noise pollution

Green cities apply the BERDE criteria for rating green buildings in urban areas. BERDE is designed to measure how much ?above and beyond? existing environmental regulations and standards a building is performing. It addresses local environmental priorities through integrated design delivery and whole building design approach. This way, the public may easily identify greener buildings in the market through a well balance, unbiased, and credible measurement of performance.

5. Green Industries

Green industries are ?climate-resilient industries?. Industries are well-adapted to climate change impacts and pursue a low-carbon development path through increased use of renewable energy as well as energy efficiency.

Green industries shall be guided by environmental standards (local and international). In terms of pollution, industries which produce hazardous and toxic substances will not be allowed to pollute the environment. On the other hand, progressive reduction will be observed by industries which produce non-hazardous wastes.

Green industries contribute to poverty reduction, social development and a better environment for all. It promotes green, sustainable and decent jobs which are compliant with living standards. A just transition to green jobs would mean that transition process to a greener economy has to be inclusive of all stakeholders, and that the unavoidable employment and social cost of the transition have to be shared by all.


Sustainable patterns of consumption and production are integrated in the strategies and plans for the greening of economic growth. Economic growth is pursued with responsible resource use and environmental protection through increased resource efficiency in the production processes.

Green innovation (e.g., cleaner production technologies and practices) through proper research and development is key to nurturing and developing suitable and environmentally sound technologies that will support the greening of the industries and economy in general. Green industries promote eco-friendly products including its viability, market penetration and expansion.

Strengthening the capabilities of micro, small, and medium scale enterprises through improved access to finance and markets are necessary for a green industry.

Greening the industries require appropriate enabling conditions such as investments, financing, and technology transfer.


The Philippines experience provides ample evidence that the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development cannot be achieved solely at the national level. Instead, it is realized both at the local community and national levels as consolidation of communities are formed and strengthened. A sustainable nation must be a community of sustainable local communities and a sustainable world, a community of such sustainable countries.

Appropriate governance structures from international, regional and national levels, including UN Programmes and Convention Secretariats, UN-ESCAP, and the PCSD, should be strengthened to effectively support sustainable development actions at the local level.

The following are preliminary recommendations of the Philippines to enhance and strengthen the current institutional framework for SD:

A. Organizational. The Philippines emphasizes the need for strengthened international sustainable development governance effective enough to support national structures for SD localization and efficient enough so as to lower transaction costs of developing countries. The planning and reporting processes of all UN Conventions and Programmes should thus be synchronized in order to facilitate effective coordination of the commitments and actions. It is suggested that an implementation framework and/or coordination mechanism be established to clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of each organization under the UN system. The development and implementation of an incentive scheme to country-parties implementing SD initiatives/meeting agreed Convention commitments should also be pursued.

B. Localization. The genuine realization of sustainable development should be attained at the local level and translated to improved well-being of people at the community level. Mechanisms, system and structures, including good governance, should promote and support local actions for sustainable development. The country strongly believes that instead of creating new institutions for SD, it is more effective and efficient to mainstream the mandate for sustainable development in existing structures and mechanisms, facilitated with the assistance of civil society and the business sectors through appropriate public-private partnership.

C. Monitoring, evaluation and feedback mechanism. The Philippines recommends the strengthening of the monitoring and evaluation of the activities and outputs through appropriate methodologies to track commitments and activities made at the global level. This may include identifying clear targets with a timeframe to ensure that countries, recognizing inherent and differing capacities, are objectively moving towards a common goal with increased accountability for SD.


The Philippines Rio+20 Report for the June 2012 Conference is being drafted in coordination with the PCSD. It is a two-part document containing the following:

Part 1 - an assessment of the implementation of Philippine Agenda 21; and

Part 2 - strategy papers identifying green economy prospects of the country and the suitable institutional framework for sustainable development at the national and international levels.

The Report will also include:

- The outputs from the Regional Consultations for 15 of the 16 regions of the Philippines. As of date, three regional consultations have already been completed. Similar to the National Forum, the regional consultations aim to level-off on the understanding on the Rio+20 Conference themes, as well as to gather sub-national issues and recommendations that will form part of the Philippines? Rio+20 Report.

- National, regional and local SD practices.

- (The Philippines) Civil Society?s Participation in Rio+20: Processes and Assessment of Philippine Agenda 21

Annex 1. Memorandum Order No. 22 dated 5 August 2011

By the President of the Philippines

Directing the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development to Undertake the Necessary Preparations for an Effective Country Participation in the Twenty-Year Review of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Commitments and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012

Philippine Council for Sustainable Development

may be reached through the

PCSD Coordinating Secretariat

National Economic and Development Authority

12 Escriva Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Philippines 1650


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