JSC meeting

MANILA – The Philippine government and the United Nations (UN) in the Philippines operationalized a strategic partnership toward achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and implementing the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028.

Held at the NEDA Central Office on Friday, May 3, the inaugural meeting of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC) on the 2024-2028 UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) of the Philippines brought together key stakeholders, including the Philippine government and the UN, with the former represented by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The Terms of Reference (TOR) approved during the meeting outline the cooperation between the Philippine government and the UN under a new partnership for 2024-2028. This blueprint sets the stage for coordinated efforts to achieve the UN’s SDGs while aligning with the country’s PDP 2023-2028.

Secretary Balisacan highlighted the significance of this partnership: “The UNSDCF complements our national development plan, serving as a guiding framework that fosters synergy with the international community. By crafting the UNSDCF collaboratively, the government and the UN aim to maximize impact and create a harmonious approach to sustainable development.”

During the meeting, the JSC also endorsed key documents from the Cooperation Framework and reviewed the current UN portfolio in the Philippines, focusing on human capital development, inclusion, and resilience building; sustainable economic development, decent work, and innovation; as well as climate action, environmental sustainability, and disaster resilience. Additionally, the UN Philippines presented an overview of resource requirements for the next four years, along with a joint work plan for 2024 that carries an estimated budget of USD211 million.

NEDA presented the TOR for the JSC and the Joint Results Group (JRG), emphasizing the primary role of each JRG in facilitating the implementation of programming priorities and ensuring internal coherence.

Foreign Secretary Enrique A. Manalo emphasized that the UNSDCF is anchored in the spirit of strategic partnership and collaboration, aligned with the Philippines’ economic trajectory to become an upper-middle income country. He stressed that no strategic priority is self-contained, with each one contributing to attaining the country’s mid-term and long-term priority development goals, as well as Ambisyon Natin 2040.

“We can all look forward to reaping the benefits of a partnership with the UN that is characterized by Philippine ownership of the process, greater transparency, as well as targeted programs and deliverables tailor-made for us to enjoy the benefits of the reformed United Nations development system,” Secretary Manalo said.

The UNSDCF recognizes the Philippines’ localization agenda of the SDGs and its transition toward achieving upper-middle income status to ensure that no one in the Philippines is left behind.

Under this new modality of the UN organization, resources will be allocated to capacity development, technical assistance, policy advice, thought leadership, partnerships, and knowledge sharing.

“The CF marks the start of a new generation of UN-Government cooperation instruments, and with this change, we are innovating ways to enhance our collaborative work with the Philippine government as we shift from traditional development assistance to transformative strategic partnerships for policy and capacity development, knowledge generation and the leveraging of financial resources,” stated UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez.

The UNSDCF was signed on October 24, 2023, by the Philippine government and the United Nations in the Philippines. The JSC serves as the main governing body of the UNSDCF and is a key mechanism for providing strategic direction and oversight for UN support in the country towards the joint development priorities outlined in the Cooperation Framework.

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