Tuesday, August 17, 2010

UN Millennium Campaign launches 2010 Stand Up, Take Action Campaign

Manila, Philippines, August 16, 2010–The United Nations (UN) system in the Philippines launched the 2010 Stand Up, Take Action campaign on August 11, 2010 to push the government to accelerate progress on the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs are eight goals that world leaders committed to achieving by 2015 during the MDG Summit in New York in 2000. The MDGs are eight concrete, specific, and time-bound targets on improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. These goals are: 1) end extreme poverty and hunger; 2) achieve universal primary education; 3) promote gender equality and empower women; 4) reduce child mortality; 5) improve maternal health; 6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; 7) ensure environmental sustainability; and 8) develop a global partnership for development.

(UN Resident Coordinator Jacqueline Badcock, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman and Social Watch Lead Convenor Leonor Briones)

Stand Up, Take Action is a global initiative against poverty that mobilizes citizens all over the world to compel their world leaders to achieve the eight MDGs by 2015, as committed in the Millennium Declaration signed in 2000.

“The year 2010 is very special because it marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Millennium Development Goals Declaration. It also signals the beginning of the five years left for the Philippines to fulfill its commitment to put an end to poverty and hunger and other development challenges, such as lack of access to education, high child and maternal mortality rate, diseases and environmental destruction by 2015,” said Dr. Jacqueline Badcock, Resident Coordinator of the UN System in the Philippines.

Dr. Leonor Briones, Social Watch Philippines lead convenor, discussed the importance of localizing the MDGs. “When the first report from the government on the MDGs came out, we insisted that the MDGs be localized. We insisted that the overall figures be broken down in terms of regions, in terms of provinces, in terms of municipalities,” Briones said. She emphasized the role of local governments and the citizens in achieving the MDGs. “In the experience of Social Watch, we have been most successful when we partnered with local government officials.” Dr. Briones reported that analyzing the 33 percent national level of poverty, the poorest regions in Mindanao have poverty levels that goes as high as 97 percent where mostly indigenous and Muslim people reside. National figures do not automatically reflect the actual state of the MDGs.

“There are still many people who do not have the notion of a national government or a national budget, even the Millennium Development Goals,” Briones revealed. “The Millennium Development Goals is not for showing off in the United Nations. The MDGs are for us.The MDGs are for the Filipino people.”

The UN Millennium Campaign in the Philippines has declared September 13 to 19 as MDG Week, during which various Stand Up, Take Action activities will be spearheaded by socio-civic and private organizations nationwide as part of a concerted, multilateral effort to push for the achievement of the MDGs. Among the marquee events identified are: the weeklong exhibits and discussions at the House of Representatives, the launch of the Citizen’s MDG Report, the Bike for MDGs, simultaneous reading of the Khutba in Mindanao, and the nationwide noise-making activity called the “Make-a-Noise for the MDGs Day,” to be held at exactly 12 noon on September 18. The Stand Up, Take Action campaign will conclude with the MyStreet Party, to be held on the same day at the Ayala, Makati grounds.

With this year’s theme of citizen-led monitoring of the MDGs, Jaime Garchitorena, founding member of Young Public Servants, also launched the MyStreet Portal, a web-based tool that aims to become the collaborative platform for local government units, national government, civil society organizations, media and citizens to monitor the MDGs through the delivery of basic goods and services at the local level.

The Philippine government, represented by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman also signified its commitment to achieve the MDGs. Sec. Soliman recognized the actual state of the Philippines in terms of the development of MDGs. She presented the major government initiatives to address the issues of poverty, social injustice, and employment among other social crises in the country including the Conditional Cash Transfer program, convergence of key projects led by different government agencies and empowerment of people to improve their socio-economic status. These are just the very basic social protection measures to address the MDGs. According to Sec. Soliman, “What I think we need to work on in addition to the convergence and complementation of my co-servants in government is precisely active citizenship in helping us monitor all these programs that I have just talked about.”

As a symbol of commitment and unified efforts to achieve the MDGs by 2015, UN representative Dr. Jacqueline Badcock, CSO representative Dr. Leonor Briones, and government representative Sec. Dinky Soliman, participated in the ceremonial Millennium Development Goal Countdown to the 2015 UN Review Summit.

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