Philippine Agenda 21
Kate s. Magpoc
Agenda 21 is an action plan of the United Nations (UN) related to sustainable
development and was an outcome of the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in
1992. It is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally
and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in
every area in which humans directly affect the environment.
It recognizes that sustainable development is primarily the responsibility of
governments, and this will require national strategies, plans and policies. The
efforts of nations need to be linked by international cooperation through
such organizations as the United Nations. The broadest public
participation, and the active involvement of the non-governmental
organizations and other groups should also be encouraged.
The objectives of Agenda 21 require substantial assistance for
• They need this additional support to cover the incremental
costs of actions to deal with global environmental
• and to accelerate sustainable development. Money is also
needed to allow international bodies to implement the
recommendations of Agenda 21.
- is the nation's blueprint for sustainable development. In concreting
the vision, it describes a path for individuals, families, households
and communities; an action plan for each ecosystem
(coastal/marine, freshwater, upland, lowland, and urban); and across
ecosystems in consideration of the interaction of the various
lifescapes and landscapes found therein. The path is grounded on
respect and active advocacy for the empowerment of the various
social groupings of society to manage the economy, critical
resources, society and culture, politics and governance and in the
arena of foreign relations.
Philippine Agenda 21 (PA 21) is our own national agenda
for sustainable development. It is basically
made up of:
- The Principles of Unity
- The Action Agenda
- The Implementation
Philippine Agenda 21 advocates a fundamental shift in development
thinking and approach. It departs from traditional conceptual
frameworks that emphasize sector-based and macro
concerns. Philippine Agenda 21 promotes harmony and achieves
sustainability by emphasizing;
A scale of intervention that is primarily area-based. The
national and global policy environment builds upon and
supports area-based initiatives.
Integrated island development approaches where
applicable. This recognizes the archipelagic character of
the Philippines which includes many small island
People and integrity of nature at the center of
development initiatives. This implies the strengthening
of roles, relationships, and interactions between and
among stakeholders in government, civil society, labor
and business. Basic sectors have an important role to
play in achieving equity and managing the ecosystems
that sustain life.
Primacy of Developing Full Human Potential This puts man at
the center of all development efforts.
Holistic Science and Appropriate Technology. Implies
development of appropriate technology to solve development
problems with due consideration to its impact to society and
Cultural, Moral and Spiritual Sensitivity. Considers the inherent
strengths of local and indigenous knowledge, practices and
beliefs, while respecting cultural diversity, moral standards and the
spiritual nature of the Filipino society.
National Sovereignty. Self-determination at the national
level to pursue social and ecological concerns in its governance
to achieve human, environmental and food security.
Gender Sensitivity. Recognize the importance of
complementary roles and empowerment of both women and
men in development.
Peace, Order and National Unity. Makes sure that the right
of everyone to a peaceful and secure existence is respected.
Social Justice, Inter-and Intra-Generational Equity and Spatial
Equity. Equal distribution of resources to everyone (including
future generations) and the provision of equal access to
development opportunities and benefits to all.
Participatory Democracy. Puts value and support to the
participation of all in the decision-making process.
Institutional Viability. Since SD is everyone’s concern,
institutional structures should promote joint responsibility,
unity and partnership among all.
Viable, Sound and Broad-based Economic Development.
Requires working for development that is based on stable
economy, where everyone equally shares the benefits of
Sustainable Population. Needs to maintain a number of people
that can be supported by the limited capacity of our natural
Ecological Soundness. Requires that we recognize the earth as a
common heritage that belongs to all of us, and everyone should
care for its capacity to support us and the future generations.
Bio-geographical Equity and Community-Based Resource
Management. Means entrusting to the people residing near or
within an ecosystem the primary right to manage its resources.
Global Cooperation. Requires international solidarity of every
nation’s effort to build a better life and safer environment.
• PA 21 envisions a better quality of life for all Filipinos
through the development of a just, moral and
creative, spiritual, economically vibrant, caring, diverse
yet cohesive society characterized by appropriate
productivity, participatory and democratic
processes, and living in harmony and within the limits
of the carrying capacity of nature and the integrity of
• Poverty Reduction: Poverty is a central concern of
sustainable development. Consistent with this, the various
consultations for the updating of PA 21 have yielded
poverty reduction agenda that includes measures to create
an enabling economic environment for sustained and
broad-based growth; improve employment, productivity
and income; and attain food security.
• Social Equity: Social equity should mean allocation of
resources on the bases of efficiency and equity to
achieve balanced development. Efficiency and equity
mean the channeling of resources to developing areas
where greater economic benefits accumulate and
where there is greater need, distribution being
dependent on the practicality and urgency of needs.
• Empowerment and Good Governance: Empowerment is a
precondition of informal choices. Good governance is a
necessary precondition to empowerment, as
empowerment is to good governance. These two are a
defining element of each other.
• Peace and Solidarity: The cycle of poverty and conflict
goes on as the costs of war escalate in terms of various
kinds of destruction while withholding funds for basic
services, resulting in more poverty and
• Ecological Integrity: In general, the path towards
enhancing the integrity of the country’s ecological
domain will have to involve heightened and sustained
implementation of environmental laws, as well as the
continued pursuit of resource conservation, and
environmental restoration/enhancement programs.