The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has hosted a two-day multi-sectoral consultation to draft the country’s national report that will be part of a United Nations (UN) global report on the current status and preparedness of 58 countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The stakeholder meeting is one of several national consultations being held around the world in the lead-up to the Stockholm+50 international meeting, with the theme “A healthy planet for the prosperity of all—our responsibility, our opportunity” taking place in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 2-3, 2022.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna thanked the organizers of the national event as the DENR once again took the lead in the facilitation of discussions as part of the country’s commitment to the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment.

“After 50 years of significant milestones that the country has undertaken to address the Stockholm Conference, the DENR is pleased to once again take the responsibility of facilitating the discussions among relevant national government agencies to gather inputs needed for the formulation of our national report on Stockholm+50,” Sampulna said during the national consultation on May 6.

The 1972 Stockholm Conference positioned the environmental concerns at the forefront of the international agenda and called for commitments on international and national environmental governance, resulting in the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment, which gave birth to the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Environment Day on June 5.

Sampulna said the Philippines started on the environmental track early enough and has translated most of these commitments into national policies and legislation with the issuance of the Philippine Environmental Code in 1977, the Philippine Impact Statement System of 1978, and the Philippine Environmental Policy in 1979.

“Likewise, noteworthy to mention is the 1987 Philippine Constitution that specifically promulgates policy of the state to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accordance with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” Sampulna said.

DENR Focal Person for International Affairs Albert Magalang said the Philippines is more focused on what transpired after the 1992 Earth Summit or the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) meeting held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992, to reconcile worldwide economic development with protection of the environment.

“Most of the environmental laws that we now have and also those of other developing countries were crafted and adopted in keeping with the three Rio commitments on biodiversity loss, climate change and desertification which are covered by multilateral agreements with developed countries,” he explained.

Magalang said that developing countries stepped up to operationalize their commitments with these environmental laws and policies despite limited resources.

However, he noted that “financing is not getting to the ground despite the existing financial arrangement under these multilateral agreements.”

“This puts developing countries like the Philippines having to face limited financial flow to fully implement and operationalize these agreements, especially the more ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Magalang said.

He pointed out that the Stockholm+50 meeting “may well be a forum to address this concern so developing countries can ably operationalize their commitments to the 2030 Agenda.”

The 2030 Agenda for SDGs contains 17 goals adopted by all UN member states in 2015 urging for a universal call to action to end by 2030 poverty and all forms of deprivation that breed inequality within the context of tackling climate change and protecting the world’s forests and oceans.

The Stockholm+50 international meeting will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment.

It will also assess how the historic event shaped international policies to safeguard the global environment in over half a decade.

At the top of the event’s agenda is to thresh out ways to speed up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SDGs and achieve sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.###