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epa 21
A Simple Guide to

Enhanced Philippine Agenda 21

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21


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Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Zeroing in on Sustainability 4
How it Began......5
Missing the Point......6
Getting the Point......8
What, then, is Unsustainable Development?......10
The Vision and Goals of SD......11

Making SD Workable in the Philippine Context 14

SD in Action......15

Agenda for the future 19

Guiding Concepts and Considerations ......20
Policy Imperatives......23
Priority Themes......26
Strategic Reform Directions......30

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Zeroing in on
Zeroing in on
Although sustainable development (SD) became a
concept decades ago, common misconceptions about it
still exist. This guide addresses these misconceptions and
sheds light on the underpinning principle behind SD: it is
not only about conserving the environment. Ultimately, it
is a holistic means of ensuring that all sectors of society,
across generations, benefit from all forms of development
undertakings at present and in the future.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

How it Began
Development is a concept as old as the human race. Throughout history,
mans unique ability to creatively use the things around him in order to
innovate and survive in an otherwise hostile environment gave rise to
civilizations and the modern world. Mans continuous quest for a better life
using the earths finite resources has taken its toll and, if left unchecked,
could pose a threat to the very survival not only of the human race, but of the
very planet that nurtured it.

The following traces the roots of sustainable development (SD) amidst the
unending quest to exceed the present levels of development and rapidly
attain a better quality of life.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

The Philippines was one of the first countries to respond to the call for
SD, through its establishment of the Philippine Council for Sustainable
Development (PCSD). The Council was tasked to ensure the implementation
of Agenda 21 through policy formulation and program development
which gave birth to the Philippine Agenda 21, the countrys blueprint for
sustainable development.

Missing the Point

Despite the comprehensive plan and defined goals of the Agenda 21, varied
interpretations and common misconceptions surfaced worldwide which were
then unconsciously passed on through the decades. Putting an end to these
inaccurate representations about sustainable development is important not
only for the present, but also for our future.

Myth: Sustainable development is simply about

environmentally responsive development programs.
Considering the impact of any development effort
on the environment is just one dimension of SD.
Behind this consideration is the recognition that
environmental issues are connected with other
developmental concerns such as poverty, social and
political marginalization and unsound development
planning. SD is not merely focused on specialized
environment-oriented development programs.
Instead, it follows a systematic approach that equally
addresses not only the effects but the root causes of
developmental problems.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Missing the Point

Myth: Sustainable development is a new concept.
While the SD concept was formalized through
the Brendthland Report of 1987, the foundations
of SD have already been manifest even during
the time of our ancestors, Their way of life and
belief system revolved around respect for nature
and the sharing of its benefits, a solid sense of
community especially among indigenous peoples
and strong spiritual awareness. Sustainable
development, therefore, while recently
articulated, is inherently part of the Filipinos
positive values and traditions. Promoting SD is
also a means of preserving our cultural values,
traditions and practices.
Myth: Sustainable development is merely a set of

new, specialized programs or projects
SD is not about putting together new projects
aimed at generating additional funds. Rather,
it provides the means to look at the whole
development arena in an integrated and
systematic way by assessing the present
situation, analyzing issues, and then considering
the best possible solution to development

Myth: SD in the Philippines is merely in compliance

with its commitments to international agreements

and conferences such as the Rio Earth Summit.
The governments commitment to SD goes
beyond compliance with international
agreements. Instead, the very basis of this
commitment is its objective of providing an
improved quality of life for the present and
future generations.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Getting the Point

Simply put, sustainable development is the kind of development that
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs (WCED, 1987).

Important characteristics of sustainable development

The countrys sustainable development blueprint, the Enhanced
Philippine Agenda 21 or EPA 21, is based on the basic aspects of
life: economic, social, and environmental which also comprise the
three pillars of development. In addition, EPA 21 also considers the
moral, spiritual, cultural and political dimensions of daily life that
can affect development.
As a holistic approach to development, SD takes the long-term view.
Painful lessons have proved that resources are limited and that
there is a price to pay for continually exploiting these resources.
Most of our actions today will have an impact on the environment
years or even decades from now. Sustainable development is
concerned with the welfare and interests not only of the present
population but also of the generations to come.

It is anchored on the value of sharing the benefits of development
equitably among all sectors of society (intra-generational equity)
and across generations (inter-generational equity). It prefers long-
term benefits rather than immediate and short term (inter-temporal
equity), with human development at its core, in order to achieve the
desired state - good quality of life for all.


It is based on a set of just and humane core values towards an
equitable and caring society.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Getting the Point

It views development as a shared goal and a collective responsibility
of all sectors of society. It advocates a participatory, consultative,
community-based, multistakeholder, and proactive development
approach and highlights the value of consensus-building and

It redefines development in such a way that the path towards
national growth would lead to a better quality of life for all. No sector
of society is left behind and no generations wellbeing is sacrificed
in the name of development.

It is a set of beliefs, value system and theoretical framework
that can guide the way a person goes about his daily life, how
a government delivers its services, and how the private sector
conducts its business.

It prescribes a system of governance and approach to decision-
making. It advocates an integrated approach to planning, policy-
making, programming, and other development processes through
holistic decision-making. It requires synergy among the sectors,
through coordinated actions of the three main actors in SD
government, business, and civil society and involves forging creative
and collaborative partnerships among them.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

What, then, is Unsustainable

The table below would best present the features of the kind of development
that is unsustainable. These are the very same characteristics that sustainable
development aims to address.

A Weak Economy An Uncaring
Environmental Faulty Governance
Manifested Social
Condition Brought Characterized By:
By: System That:
About By:
Boom-bust economic Is unable to Misuse, abuse, Lack of political
cycles provide for the and disregard will to pursue
basic needs of for the genuine
Unmanaged budget
its population environments development,
carrying unjust political
Breeds social
High indebtedness and capacity structures,
tension and
trade imbalances massive
conflicts due to Pursuit of short-
Pursuit of specific corruption,
inequities term, personal
sectoral interests with patronage politics
interests by
Breeds social and political
substantial negative influential
ills such as dynasties
impacts on other segments of
drug addiction,
sectors society A generally
prostitution and
Serving the interest of sectoral
crime General apathy
a small segment of the orientation and
and failure
Erodes cultural lack of structures
population to accept
values for coordination
Suffering from instead environmental
Produces among the
of enjoying the benefits protection as
a general various sectors,
of globalization a personal
feeling of that negate
issue and
Widening gap between discontent and welfare gains
the rich and the poor helplessness Highly centralized
Failure to
Displacement of people among its structures for
from their sources of people decision making
the spiritual
livelihood and cultural connection of General lack of
roots man with his transparency and
Marginalization and environment accountability
exclusion of some among
sectors of society institutions
from the benefits of

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Vision and
Goals of
Vision and SD
Goals of SD
Sustainable development seeks to build a
cohesive society working towards the greater
good for all.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Sustainable development holds a challenging but achievable vision of a

better quality of life for all with equality in all aspects of human life while
maintaining environmental integrity. It seeks to achieve the following goals:

Goals of SD

1 A viable and vibrant economy that meets

the needs of every Filipino and supports
their aspirations, with a significant
reduction in poverty incidence and

2 A caring social system that develops self-

reliant communities with shared values
and a nurturing environment that develops
every Filipinos talents and aspirations,
promotes social freedom, and ensures
economic security.

3 A country committed to maintain the

integrity of an abundant, healthy and well-
managed archipelagic ecosystem.

A responsive, accountable and transparent
government that promotes an inclusive
development process, and guides every
Filipino towards informed choices and

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Making SD Workable
in the Philippine
Making SD Workable
in the Philippine
Context Sustainable development indicators serve
to assess progress in the pursuit of SD. These
are based on ecological, economic, political,
cultural, technological, social, and institutional
parameters backed by SD principles.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

SD in Action
Despite its complexities, several success stories on SD in action have been
observed throughout the country. These positive experiences of several
communities prove that SD is possible with the collective and proactive
action among the stakeholders guided by a common goal.

Phase out of mercury in health care

During the 2006 Southeast Asia Conference on

Mercury-Free Health Care, the DOH anounced that
the government will push for the phasing-out of all
mercury-containing devices in all health care facilities
and institutions. Between 2007 and early 2008, the
DOH, in partnership with the NGO Health Care Without
Harm (HCWH), conducted a series of educational fora
on the hazards of mercury and the management of
mercury spills. HCWH, in support of the DOHs campaign, also conducted a
research on the available alternatives to mercury containing thermometers
and sphygmomanometers and published a list of such alternatives which was
then distributed to health sector stakeholders especially hospitals.

In July 2008, DOH Administrative Order 21 (AO21) on the Gradual Phase-out

of mercury-containing devices in all health care facilities and institutions
was released, mandating a two-year phase-out period for thermometers and
sphygmomanometers. Several hospitals both private and public have already
started the phase-out by substituting these devices with affordable, accurate
and safer alternatives. The AO also provided the guidelines for the phasing-
out and storage of other mercury containing products such as amalgam,
fluorescent lights, batteries, etc.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Philex Mining Corp. Community and Stakeholder

Philex Mining Corporation (Philex) operates the Padcal

Mine located in Itogon, Benguet Province. Over the
past several years, various activist groups blamed the
company as being responsible for mined-out areas
becoming waste lands while only benefiting the workers
in the mine camp. The company was also accused of
encroaching into vital lands and therefore depriving
the communities of their rights to tenure and access
to natural resources along with polluting the river systems with mine tailings
considered to be toxic and hazardous.

To address these issues, Philex created an interdepartmental coordinating

division called the Environment and Community Relations Division (ECRD)
mandated to pursue a tri-sector approach to community and stakeholder
engagement. Specifically, it dealt with public perception on the supposedly
negative environmental impact of the mining activities. The ECRD educated the
stakeholders on mining operations aside from providing stable employment
to people in the communities. It also trained residents in various skills and
alternative livelihood, and/ also gave free elementary education to children.

These efforts proved not only beneficial to the company businesswise but also
made a positive development impact on the community as a whole. It improved
the companys credibility within the host and neighbouring communities by
addressing not only the issues the company was facing but also the issues
of the communities affected by their operations. The company conducted
an objective scanning of the social and physical environment and gathered
accurate information to guide their decision making. Some of the benefits felt
by the communities are: increase in annual income of residents; awareness
and participation of different sectors in local governance and decision- making;
improvement in the recognition and respect for workers rights; decrease in crime
rates due to available employment; and enhanced environmental awareness,
among others.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Dark Green School Program (DGS)

The DGS program is a project of the Environmental

Education Network of the Philippines (EENP) in order
to facilitate the greening process in the academe.
It is both a whole-school approach for environmental
education and an accreditation program. It aims
to ensure the integration of sound environmental
principles within all components of the schools
operation: policy, administration and finance,
academic curriculum,faculty competence and student internalization -
outreach/extension program and production.

It uses self-assessment to determine the schools strengths and weaknesses

and the findings are validated by a team made up of peers from other EENP
institutions after which an independent evaluation is given. An institution
is given either a dark green status level signifying its environmental
soundness or a light green status level signifying the need to comply with
the recommendations given by the assessors within two years to elevate its
status level to dark green. The accredited institutions are given a number
of years before a re-visit, the period depending on the level and team

The DGS went through a pilot phase from November 2007 to February 2009.
The experience has shown that the program has great potential to accelerate
environmental education in the Philippines. EENP intends to work for the
programs institutionalization by CHED.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

On Sustainable Production and Consumption

The Eco- Solid Waste Management Program of Los Banos

In the past, the open dumpsite in Los Banos, Laguna

caused a stir in the surrounding communities as
decomposing wastes leaked to the nearby creek and
produced a foul smell that caused respiratory diseases.
Moreover, a considerable amount of solid waste was
burned, producing unbearable smoke that spread over
the town almost every afternoon.

In 2001, the Local Government of Los Banos started the Waste Segregation
Program that called for the following: a) strict enforcement of the waste
segregation scheme; implementation of a collection schedule for biodegradable
and non-biodegradable wastes; and imposition of a ban on the use of plastic
bags, styrofoam and disposable plates and cutlery in restaurants, fast food
chains, and stores, along with the penalties for non-compliance. The local
government organized the participation of citizen volunteers, barangay officials,
UP Police Force, civic organizations, government employees, and any legitimate
Los Baos residents for the formation of the Anti Litter Task Force.

Over the years, the program succeeded in converting the municipalitys open
dumpsite into an Ecological Waste Processing Center (EWPC), where different
types of waste are processed into recyclable materials. A pressing machine for
cans and plastic was built using salvaged steel from a dismantled bridge and
hydraulic rams from junked dump trucks. Biodegradable waste are composted
and sent to farmers for use on their farms and plastic wastes are recycled into

The program supported the conversion of waste pickers, waste buyers, and waste
scavengers into a peoples organization, now recognized as the Los Baos Solid
Waste Organization (LB-SWO) which currently serve as the towns partner in solid
waste management. Various organizations such as the Solid Waste Management
Board, the Task Force Kalinisan, and the Deputized Volunteer Enforcers from
various sectors were also organized to support the program. It instilled among
its constituents the importance of avoiding the use of plastics and other non-
biodegradable packaging materials and replacing these with reusable
biodegradable items. The success of the towns solid waste management
program was the result of a series of dialogues and consultations, massive IEC
campaigns to get the support of the community coupled with a strong political will
of local leaders.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

The road towards sustainable development is long. There are no shortcuts.

So, how do we get there? What should we do? That is where the Enhanced
Philippine Agenda 21 comes in.

Crucial to any undertaking, is a set of guiding principles to help to achieve its

vision of a good life for all Filipinos, with equality in all aspects of human life
while maintaining environmental integrity

Agenda for the future

Agenda for the future
Sustainable development efforts will focus
on bit-by-bit, doable, concrete, and strategic
incremental changes that will have significant
impact over time. SD builds on ongoing
initiatives that have the same development
objectives and emphasizes multi-stakeholder
partnerships to address poverty, adapt to
globalization, proper ecological management,
social equity, peace and order, and good

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Guiding Concepts and

Integration and Gradual Adoption
EPA 21 is neither a new concept nor a new program that will be added to the
long list of projects being forced into national and local government units
for them to accomplish. Rather, EPA 21s Action Agenda and SD vision will
enhance good initiatives and build on their strengths. This will not duplicate
or replace existing initiatives but will instead synergize efforts through
integration and partnership with programs having the same

It is also not just

a collection of
programs and
activities. It will put
together conceptual
and operational
breakthroughs of
prior initiatives and
set distinct measures
to bring together
ongoing and planned
SD efforts.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Multistakeholder and Counterparting

EPA 21 is a joint and equal responsibility of all the stakeholders involved
in its formulation. It is a cooperative undertaking where each stakeholder
equally contributes to its effective implementation.

The Agenda recognizes the functional specializations of the three realms

of society government, business, and civil society. Each key actor has a
unique role, yet each acts in a spirit of cooperation and partnership with the
other actors. The success of such partnerships depend on mutual respect
and acceptance among these key actors. In the end, all the stakeholders
would share in the fruits of their collective efforts.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

Given the enormous challenge that SD faces vis--vis available resources,
the EPA 21 Action Agenda will make the most of opportunities for creating
synergies by ensuring complementation among the key actors in SD. Many
EPA 21 initiatives require interventions that do not necessitate the use of
significant resources.

EPA 21 emphasizes creative and innovative strategies and solutions to

numerous development problems confronting the country. It will effect
incremental changes which have significant cumulative impacts.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Operationalization and Results Orientation

EPA 21 clearly identified doable and well-defined outputs and outcomes.

Monitoring and evaluation will not focus on the progress of activities but on
significant outcomes of its implementation.

Systems Orientation
The pursuit of SD involves broad-based change. It is, in effect, a comprehensive
governance reform initiative. Therefore, the EPA 21 Action Agenda was devised
through a systems perspective, taking into account the elements of change
management structure, technology, and people. Interventions in the Action
Agenda will delve into these three aspects with a reform measure incorporating
institutional change, process change, and behavioral change.

Dual Nature of Sustainable Development Reform

The journey towards SD requires both a transition and a paradigm shift. While
there is an urgency to address unsustainable development patterns, SD is
a difficult task that cannot happen overnight. EPA 21s response to these
dilemmas is a two-pronged Action Agenda.

First, it will focus on priority themes to address threats to sustainable

development. Second, it will create the measures that will lay down the
necessary enabling conditions so that SD becomes a way of doing things,
woven into the fabric of our daily lives.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Policy Imperatives
EPA 21 Action Agenda clustered policy directions into a smaller set of
imperatives to align it to the four goals of SD; highlighting the efficient use
of limited resources as against the magnitude of problems besetting our
country, and emphasizing the interconnectivity of the development goals and

The policy statements are not new but emerged in the course of addressing
present day challenges.

A. 1. Create a stable macroeconomic environment

Create and through responsible governance
Sustain 2. Generate a steady flow of income;
a Viable 3. Modernize agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing
and Sound and service sectors to boost productivity
Economy and improve local industries capacity for
4. Raise awareness on sustainable patterns of
production and consumption;
5. Protect consumer and general public welfare as
well as workers rights by promoting corporate
social responsibility.

B. 1. Seek harmony in diversity and cultivate the

Promote spirit of fairness and equity in society;
Social 2. Promote the formation of social and human
Cohesion capital;
3. Work towards achieving more sustainable
population structure, growth, and distribution;
4. Pursue a broad-based development strategy
wherein development benefits will reach
every Filipino across all ages, ethnicities,
and gender; significantly reduce poverty; and
narrow the gap between the rich and the poor.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Protect 1. Protect the environment and promote
Ecological sustainable management of natural
Integrity resources by making sure that environmental
laws are enforced through collaborative
efforts of government, business and civil
2. Promote the wider adoption of ecosystems
and communities as the basic units for
natural resource management;
3. Promote proper pricing and valuation of
resources through the wider application of
regulatory instruments;
4. Improve alternative livelihood opportunities
for sectors that have traditionally relied
on natural resources for their economic
5. Put in place constructive measures to
restore the degraded state of many natural
resources and prevent harm to protected
6. Harness the full potentials of S&T and
indigenous knowledge systems towards
more efficient resource use while managing
environmental problems with caution;
7. Popularize the view of environment as a
common heritage built into the Filipino way
of life, culture and traditions.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Institutionalize 1. Secure the highest political commitment
Good to SD as the governing framework for long-
Governance term development;
2. Establish a sound moral base for
governance by promoting the highest
standards of performance, accountability
and transparency in government,
business and civil society institutions;
3. Strengthen democratic institutions and
promote national unity by deepening the
culture of empowerment, devolution,
decentralization, meaningful participation,
inclusion, collaboration, and partnerships;
4. Promote better coordination among
political decision-makers through multi-
stakeholder mechanisms;
5. Strengthen local governance and develop
capacities of local institutions to deliver
6. Secure peace and order in every
community by improving law enforcement
and the administration of justice.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Priority Themes
In the Philippine context, six SD concerns have been identified as
priority areas. These are:
1. Eradicating Poverty
Poverty is a central concern of SD. The
effects of environmental degradation
are felt more heavily by the poor, thereby
driving them into environmentally
destructive activities in the uplands and
coastal areas . However, poverty does not only mean the lack of economic
resources. Societies where economic poverty have largely been overcome
still does not experience overall wellbeing. Poverty is more than just lack of
income or material wealth but encompasses the social, cultural, ecological,
political, and spiritual dimensions of everyday life.

With this in mind, EPA 21 proposes the creation of: a) a favourable economic
environment that ensures sustained, broad-based, and ecologically sound
growth; b) improves employment, productivity and incomes; and c) attains
food security.

2. Managing Globalization

A strong internal economy is a foundation

for global competitiveness. The
Philippines faces difficulty in responding
to the challenges and opportunities of
globalization, as it faces threats such as
serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty and inequality, as well as
environmental degradation.

To benefit from globalization, the following need to be done.

1. Protect the most vulnerable sectors in society including the workers and
the small-scale industries, and ensure that their wellbeing improves over
time. This can be done by:
supporting local industries to generate more jobs;
upholding strong governance to assert its national interest in
global agreements, particularly concerning international trade and
investments; and
providing safety nets for weak and vulnerable industries and displaced
workers to enable them not just to survive but be competitive in the
world market

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

2. Provide physical infrastructure for the country to compete globally and

maintain its comparative advantage; and
3. Enhance access to accurate and timely information on countries and
financial markets to improve productivity, diversify commodities, and
ensure competitiveness
3. Achieving Social Equity
Social equity is achieved when social and
human capital are equally considered.
When individual needs are satisfied,
social harmony is easier to attain. To
ensure this, interventions should be
in place to increase peoples access
to the following: health, nutrition,
education, housing and other basic social services; arts, culture, sports,
moral and spiritual development; gender equity; and sustainable population

Securing these needs help develop positive values such as

cooperation sense of purpose
commitment to excellence self-esteem
sense of community feelings of wellbeing.
4. Securing Peace and Solidarity
Social capital, in the form of fostering solidarity among sectors in society,
is as a key ingredient in development.
Solidarity can be achieved when there
is peace and solidarity alongside a
just economic-political structure and
a culture of tolerance. To do this, the
following concerns must be addressed:

1. Armed ideological conflicts waged by the National Democratic Front and

the Moro Islamic Liberation Front;
2. Economically and politically marginalized groups;
3. Conflicts over access, use, control or ownership of natural resources,
including ancestral domain areas, that are rapidly deteriorating and
endangering ecological security;
4. Lack of human rights awareness, concern, and protection among the
general populace;

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

5. The emergence of global terrorism and increasing acts of terrorism in

the country, resulting in a global anti-terrorism response that result on
paranoia and the trampling of human rights of suspects;
6. Illegal acts that go unpunished, like jueteng and narcopolitics, allowing
their protectors to stay in power due to strong political connections;
7. The slow wheel of justice on many crimes, that has been an excuse for
vigilante actions and the taking up of armed rebellion; and
8. The culture of impunity, where perpetrators of torture and other human
rights violations during martial law remain at large and unpunished,
even gaining elective positions. There has been no process of truth-
telling and reconciliation based on justice for the victims of martial law.

5. Maintaining Ecological
The earths ecological carrying
capacity is stretched almost to its limit
and current efforts to address this
problemare not enough. Affected by
this issue is the production sector. It is therefore important for this sector to
carefully weigh its options to attain sustained, long-term growth. This can be
achieved through the following measures:

1. Heightened, sustained, and innovative implementation, monitoring and

enforcement of pertinent laws and programs already in place through:
enhanced collaboration with other influential sectors like the
media and the church; and
establishment of effective support measures such as knowledge
management, legal assistance, environmental business
development, environmental accountability systems, and
sustainable tourism standards;
2. Resolution of conflicts related to strategic natural resource management
such as those related to mining, biotechnology, marine jurisdictional
delimitation and multiple resource use; and
3. Review of the growing scarcity of natural resources vis-a-vis pricing and
taxation policies.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

6. Empowerment and Good Governance

People empowerment is the foundation

of good governance. If people are
empowered, they will participate in
their communitys affairs and become
partners of the local government in
the pursuit of development. For this
to happen, opportunities for peoples
participation should be provided and threats to their empowerment should
be addressed.

Technical interventions to enhance opportunities and reduce the threats

should be done in conjunction with capacitating relevant institutions to make
appropriate decisions and action in order to grab opportunities and minimize

Unfortunately, institutional capacities can be constrained by the degree of

trust given to them by the public. It is largely based on their legitimacy and
credibility and on the publics confidence in them.

1. Transparency is important for these institutions to maintain legitimacy

and maintain public trust. Institutions must only seek to serve
public interests and must not use their mandates as cover for graft,
opportunities for corruption, or machinations to realign public rent for
the benefit of a few.
2. Credibility requires that institutions decide and act with competence,
involving as many stakeholders as possible. To enable this, institutional
support to local human resource (scientists, teachers, farmers and
fisherfolk, among others) is necessary. This will not only focus local
initiatives on public interests but also expand wisdom and skills while
improving credibility of these institutions.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

Strategic Reform
OVERALL To fully adopt, through a formal directive,
THRUST sustainable development as the
overarching framework and vision for
long-term development in the country.

The process of SD necessarily combines old and new initiatives. Certain

cultural traditions must continue to be observed while unsustainable
practices must be stopped to make way for newer, more effective and cost-
efficient interventions.

Operationalizing an integrated and holistic policy framework requires key

reforms. In the interest of efficiency and effectiveness, EPA 21 outlines a
Reform Agenda that focuses on the areas requiring these changes. It zeroes
in on actions that stakeholders need to commit to and not on things that
they expect to do in the first place as well as on commitments rather than
contributions as defined in the guiding concepts.

The EPA 21 advocates a kind of development for and by the people, backed
by a set of values that emphasizes fair and just decision-making processes.
It offers an alternative development framework approach that seeks to
change the foundation of current development paradigm and the process
itself. For sustainable development to happen, its guiding principles need
to be integrated into all processes, projects, programs and decisions as the
ultimate guiding development framework.

Because of its systems orientation, the reforms are organized into key
elements of change: structure (genuine, participatory and multi-stakeholder
decision-making), technology (systems, processes, tools, methodologies,
policies, tasks) and people (behavior, skills, knowledge and value systems).

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

A. Changes in Structures for Development


OVERALL EPA21 seeks to reform or establish

DIRECTION appropriate structures that truly
empower all sectors of society by
enabling genuine participatory and
multistakeholder decision-making, as
well as allow and push for the integrated
delivery of development services.
1. Increase the involvement of various stakeholders in integrated
development decision-making through the following:

a. Enhance the functionality of existing mechanisms by clarifying

roles, contributions, accountabilities of and expectations
from key players, protocols for decision making and conflict
resolution, membership accreditation, level of commitment,
and others. New workable and mutually-acceptable parameters
of engagement based on lessons from past experiences
should also be put in place -- like genuine cooperation and
partnerships, mutual acceptance of collective responsibilities
and accountabilities, counterpart sharing and consensus
b. Seek alternative modes for civil society engagement in areas
where government structures are governed by charters that
preclude formal membership of civil society; and
c. Establish formal accreditation or self-regulation mechanisms
among civil society groups through coalitions and networks
to establish the legitimacy of specific civil society advocacies,
and consequently ensure the quality and regularity of their
involvement in major decision-making processes. Since many
multistakeholder structures (interagency groups, committees,
councils, consultative groups, technical working groups, and
other multisectoral bodies) were established in the early 90s
when empowerment and good governance became popular,
there is a need to examine whether they actually do empower
stakeholders. Participation in multistakeholder structures and
mechanisms should come with certain accountabilities. There
may be a need to review, reengineer, or remove mechanisms
that are no longer serving the purpose of their establishment;

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

2. Restructure key mechanisms to effect genuinely integrated,

participatory, holistic, and multidimensional decision-making. This may
call for increasing the composition of interagency bodies to ensure
representation of all the relevant dimensions of development (economic,
environmental, social, and governance);

3. Activate, strengthen or create structures that allow vertical and

horizontal coordination within and across governance levels among
national government agencies (e.g. Cabinet Cluster System); among
the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of government (e.g.
Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council); among national-
regional-local agencies (e.g. Regional Development Councils); and
among local governments (e.g. League of Municipalities and Cities).
Such groups should synchronize planning and development activities
through sectoral task forces, councils, commissions and committees to
effect better, integrated decision-making;

4. Replicate or upscale working models of interjurisdictional decision-

making structures that plan and program activities based on resource
management units or shared ecosystems (e.g. watershed, river basin,
lakes and other natural water systems, ancestral domains, protected
areas, agricultural zones);

5. Reshape current government reengineering efforts as a form of

organizing for SD wherein decisions on appropriate structures are
guided by key result areas and SD goals, rather than driven primarily by
downsizing concerns. Slowly ease out sector orientation in favor of goal
orientation. Explore the viability of merging departments that deliver
similar and related services as well as separation of conflicting functions
of particular departments. Consequently, all agencies shall have a
defined core function in terms of a particular dimension and goal of SD,
with subfunctions addressing all the other goals and dimensions; and

6. Recognize the primacy of local government units as instrument for

delivering SD. Following the principle of subsidiarity and the right to self-
determination, empower LGUs to enforce SD measures.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

B. Innovations in Systems, Policies, Processes

and other Decision-Making Mechanisms

OVERALL Enable the formulation of holistic,

DIRECTION multidimensional, long-term, fair and
just decisions that would benefit all

1. Adopt the EPA21 as the long-term development framework plan that

will guide the MTPDP and all planning efforts at all levels for the next
25 years. Alternatively, work towards legislating the adoption of the SD
framework in all decision-making processes (Sustainable Development
Act). The integration of SD in the MTPDP must go beyond the mere
inclusion of additional paragraphs on SD. It must mainstream SD
principles and parameters such that these effectively define the thrust
and focus of the strategies in the plan;

2. Ensure the use of various analytical and policy tools so that development
interventions coincide with the overarching framework of SD.

a. Mandate the adoption of the SD operational framework (vision,

goals, principles, parameters and indicators), development
policies and programs to ensure consistency with the vision of
SD. The four goal dimensions of SD can be developed into a
4-way test on SD;
b. Incorporate the SD vision, principles and parameters into
agency mission statements.
c. Mandate all agencies to formulate sectoral SD strategies as
part of their annual plan and budget submissions;
d. Develop and use environmental and technology impact
assessments, health impact assessment, extended cost-
benefit analysis, full cost accounting, risk assessment, and
other methodologies that allow simultaneous consideration
of SD dimensions in various decision-making processes. The
combination of these approaches should evolve into an SD
impact assessment tool;
e. Harmonize plans and laws, synchronize development activities
at all levels, and share information among all concerned
through the design and adoption of applicable approaches,
modalities, and analytical tools;

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

f. Regularize the budget for programs that will effectively

capacitate agencies and other stakeholders to ensure the
consistency of their plans, programs and activities with SD This
calls for a budget that puts in place environmental management
and SD indicator systems, integrates environmental
management and social mobilization components, coordination
and networking, conducts impact assessments, and sets up
multidisciplinary consultative groups, among others; and
g. Develop procedures and indicators, guided by SD parameters
outlined in Section 3.2 to incorporate SD considerations into all
relevant government regulatory systems (e.g. business permit
and licensing systems, building code, sanitation and health
standards, food and drug certification);
3. Reorient monitoring, reporting and evaluation system towards SD at all
governance levels:

a. Institutionalize SD reporting of regular national and local State of

SD Reports;
b. Streamline current monitoring, reporting and evaluation (MRE)
systems to reduce duplication of efforts at various governance
levels and to focus on key SD results. Mandate all agencies to
review priorities for data collection, analysis, and dissemination
regarding efficiency and relevance of initiatives to SD; and
c. Refocus MRE efforts to provide more emphasis on strengthening
local SD MRE systems. Such systems should serve as basis for
formulating reward and recognition schemes for SD adherents.
This may build upon the Local Development Watch monitoring
system of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
It should be designed and directed towards transforming local
communities into sustainable communities with appropriately
designed buildings and architecture, green spaces, energy
efficient and ecologically sound transportation, efficient land and
resource use strategies, managed economic growth, empowered
constituents, vibrant partnerships among government, civil
society and business, etc;
4. Simplify and standardize annual accomplishment reports of government
agencies to de-emphasize initiatives undertaken and focus more on the extent
of achieving performance commitments and key results;

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

5. Design ways to allow more reasonable public access to government

records, databases, transactions, and contracts. Develop indices that
measure wellbeing at the per capita level side by side with the national
income growth. Review the efficacy of indicators covered under the
present system, purging those that have become irrelevant; and

6. Strongly advocate policies, programs and legislation that support

the effective management of population concerns in the context of
the carrying capacity of natural resources and ecosystems. Balance
population issues with various perspectives on the sanctity of personal
decisions; and respect for spiritual beliefs. Consider also the negative
economic, social and environmental repercussions of a growing
population. Include measures that address the spatial distribution
and structure of the population. Discuss the importance of informed
personal choices through responsible parenthood. Address the root
causes of population growth such as social norms and poverty. Establish
the population-carrying capacities of specific ecosystems.

C. Sector Specific Policies

OVERALL Abandon purely sector orientation in

DIRECTION planning, policy and programming.
Adopt, instead, goal-oriented
strategies and approaches that
consider the multidimensionality and
interconnectedness of all sectors.

1. Develop a comprehensive framework for the enforcement of

environmental laws and regulations. Implement a consolidated program
that responds to environmental issues in its economic, social and
institutional/governance dimensions. The program should be based on
cooperative environmental management approaches that emphasize
mutually agreed standards and focus not merely on strict regulation and
mandated means of compliance. Strategies may include: a) tightening
of performance monitoring systems; b) enlisting greater community

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

and private sector involvement; c) improving access to information,

promoting voluntary or self-regulation; and d) use of market incentives,
establishment of appropriate, clear, fair, flexible standards, baselines
and benchmarks that are set democratically, among others.

The program should also identify environment-related legislation and

determine how these can be implementedalongside the economic, social
and political costs/benefits of existing and pending laws;

2. Mandate all government institutions, as a matter of policy rather than

as a good practice, to set up environmental management systems and
move towards getting ISO 14001 Certification;

3. Devise a viable economic program to protect the integrity of the

countrys environment and natural resource endowments, improve
overall social welfare, and manage responsible and accountable

a. Formulate a comprehensive employment and livelihood strategy

to provide every Filipino a fair chance at securing a good life, more
than just meeting economic and subsistence needs;
b. Seriously reassess the cheap labor policy of government as a way of
attracting investments. Capitalize more on the knowledge, skills and
innate competence of the countrys vast labor force; and
c. Develop more innovative ways to optimize international demand
for Filipino workers. Find ways to transform such demand into local
opportunities, rather than send Filipinos as overseas contract
workers in foreign countries. Provide enabling mechanisms so that
the local industries that supply workers abroad, such as health
industry and telecommunications, can adopt world-class standards
that would encourage foreign clients to establish their businesses in
the Philippines instead.

4. Formulate a framework plan and policy on sustainable production and


a. Create the impetus for sustainable production and consumption

(SPC) practices by developing consumer standards. This requires
high consumer awareness on SPC through free flow of information
and a dependable system of consumer protection;

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

b. Formulate and implement a public disclosure policy to inform

consumers on the health, safety, environmental, and social
impacts of commercial products and services as well as
government and civil society programs and projects;
c. Enhance business access to advances in S&T to hasten the
shift to SPC patterns that emphasize better quality rather than
more products;
d. Advance life cycle analysis as well as extended and shared
producer responsibility as integral parts of the corporate
environmental management system. Broaden established
business practices in accounting, finance, marketing, and
production to reflect the full costs and benefits of natural
resource use; and
e. Hasten the establishment of sustainable green procurement
systems in government, leading by example, to catalyze shift
towards SPC.

5. Devise mechanisms to discourage excessive consumption and wasteful

production. Prepare schemes to assess policies on SPC in terms of their
impact on the SD goals and establish means to pursue such a review.
Reorient the structure of economic incentives such as taxes, tariff,
and subsidies to incorporate environmental, social, and governance
6. Formulate a cohesive and forward-looking globalization policy that
enables business competition at the international market. Tap the
advances in research information technology, and the Filipinos creativity
and innovativeness to conquer the global market; and
7. Apply corporate social responsibility (CSR) within the broader SD
framework through socially responsible production practices of private
businesses. Businesses undertake numerous CSR activities in their
effort to give something back to host communities. Instead of the
usual direct social assistance or support for socially-oriented causes,
CSR efforts can be expanded to consider SD dimensions such as
a) SPC initiatives; b) fair compensation and comprehensive health,
safety and welfare program for employees; and c) greater openness
and accountability as well as democratic and responsible corporate

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

8. Set S&T efforts within the integrative paradigm framework, which

recognizes the interplay and importance of indigenous knowledge
systems in devising culturally appropriate and environment-friendly
technological solutions to development problems; and
9. Draw up an acceptable framework that establishes creative tripartite
and multipartite partnerships as the norm for development governance.
These partnerships should emphasize corporate and civil society
governance and define the shared accountabilities and responsibilities
of these sectors.

D. Orienting Peoples Values and Skills towards SD

OVERALL Promote sustainable lifestyles and

DIRECTION responsible citizenship among Filipinos.

1. Ensure that education develops the full human potential. It should not
be confined to securing future employment for Filipinos, but giving them
opportunities to be productive and of service to Philippine society and
humanity as a whole:

a. Develop curriculum at all levels that promote well-rounded

skills and knowledge on multiple disciplines as well as systems
thinking. Conduct a comprehensive review of curricula to
determine entry points for mainstreaming SD principles;
b. Develop and integrate modules for various curricula at all levels
and fields of specialization to reorient value systems towards
recognizing individual responsibilities for SD; and
c. Create and implement innovative and nontraditional learning
methods such as artistic expression and community-based
and experiential learning to enhance hands-on exposure on SD
issues, and integrate them with formal methods;

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21

2. Popularize and develop preference for sustainable lifestyles by

increasing access to information on sustainable practices through the
power of media and other creative forms of communication;
3. Create innovative reward and compensation systems for environmental
services performed by individuals, households, and communities; and
4. Launch a government saturation campaign to advocate SD across
all agencies, levels, and branches of government. This will involve: a)
the mandatory inclusion of SD in all programs of government training
institutions; b) regularizing the budget for SD trainings; and c) integration
of SD criteria in competency evaluations of prospective civil service
employees, CESOs and Cabinet appointees.

Understanding SD: A Simple Guide to EPA21


PCSD Coordinating Secretariat 30th Floor Yuchengco Tower, RCBC Plaza,
3/F NEDA sa Pasig Building, 12 St. Josemaria 6819 Ayala Avenue cor. Sen. Gil J. Puyat Ave.,
Escriva Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig City 1605 Makati City 1226 Philippines
Tel: 631-3745 or 631-3714 * Fax: 631-3745 or Tel: 901-0100 * Fax: 901-0200 or 889-7177
633-6015 * E-mail: