Chapter 1: Principles of Unity

The quest for sustainable development is the collective undertaking of all sectors of Philippine society. In this context, it is critical that the various stakeholders search for common ground. This document, embodying the Principles of Unity, identifies that common ground to enable the key actors in the sustainable development process to unite in their pursuit of sustainable development. These Principles of Unity seek to answer the following questions:

1 Where are we now?
2 What is sustainable development?
3 Where do we want to go
4 How do we get there?




From the international perspective, sustainable development is a concept that has taken its roots from the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment where international concern on environment and development was first highlighted. Efforts to resolve this issue culminated in 1987, in the pioneering report of the World Commission on Environment and Development -- (otherwise known as the Brundtland Commission), Our Common Future which first advanced the notion of sustainable development as "meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". This report proved to be a catalyst for the global movement for sustainable development capped by the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro where governments and members of key sectors of society forged a consensus to implement an action agenda for sustainable development, now popularly known as Agenda 21. The U.N. Commission for Sustainable Development was then established to coordinate the implementation of Agenda 21 and to further develop the principles and practice of sustainable development.

From the Philippine perspective, sustainable development is not a modern-day concept. Many Filipino indigenous cultural groups have been observing sustainable practices and principles as evident in their traditions, beliefs and way of life. A number of factors, for instance, years of foreign domination of the country, have significantly influenced many of these practices eventually resulting in unsustainable patterns of development.

Hence, while sustainable development derives meaning from the global discourse, it must be rooted in the context of Philippine reality and aspirations. Numerous initiatives have been undertaken in the Philippines which attempted to address the interrelated economic, political, cultural, social, demographic, human, institutional and environmental problems plaguing Philippine society. In addition, the extensive national and regional consultations on the Philippine Agenda 21 provide a mechanism for and represent a critical part of achieving a genuine consensus on how sustainable development should be conceptualized and implemented.

Therefore, Philippine Agenda 21 builds on the outcomes of and provides an integrating conceptual and operational framework for these consultations and initiatives in sustainable development. It also builds on the Philippine commitments to the various global conferences called to focus on social development, population and development, women and urbanization, all of which are interrelated with sustainable development.

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Achieving sustainable development is a formidable task. Our journey towards sustainable development must be grounded on a clear understanding of the trends, challenges and opportunities that now face us. Unsustainable development is driven by a range of interactive political, economic, cultural, environmental and global forces (see Figure 1).

Demographic Trends.  The Philippines ranks as the 9th most populous country in Asia and the 14th in the world. While the country's population growth rate has gone down from 3.3% to 2.4% over the past 30 years, this growth rate, if unabated, will cause the population to double to 128 million by 2025. The population structure (where 40% are under 15 years of age) as of 1990, with its dependency ratio of 75/100, is indicative of the strain on the limited resources both at the household and at the national level. The last 25 years have seen continued rural to urban migration, resulting in a major shift in the balance between rural and urban populations, and affecting the quality of life both in the cities and the rural communities. Outward movement of Filipinos to other countries, either through emigration or through overseas employment, has caused significant pressures on the integrity of family and community life. It is expected that rapid population growth and imbalances in spatial distribution would continue if there is no recognition of the relationships between population, resources, environment, and development in policy decision-making at all levels of governance, as well as the crucial role that the family plays.

Cultural Trends.  International surveys show that Filipinos rank first in religiosity and spirituality. The values of Maka-Diyos and maka-kalikasan are closely woven together in the Filipino's concern for the environment. In addition, the inherent strengths of the Filipino culture continue to reinforce social cohesion within Philippine society. These include: openness, freedom of expression, gender sensitivity, facility at conflict resolution, resilience, flexibility, highly personalized approach at relationships, strong family orientation, bayanihan spirit, and passion for creative expression (as in the arts). These values are also embodied in the growing tradition of local activism as manifested in the presence of formal NGO/PO networks throughout the Philippines (at least one formal network in 70 out of 78 provinces). These positive Filipino traits are being felt and recognized globally as demonstrated by the active participation and/or leadership of civil society in complex discussions at various international summits such as the Earth Summit in Rio, Social Development Summit in Copenhagen, Women's Summit in Beijing and the Habitat Summit in Istanbul, among others.

The continuing demand for Filipinos abroad also reflects a high international regard for the quality of work and creativity of Filipinos. Unfortunately, these traits may be suppressed under conditions of economic growth and international trade that can lead to a cultural homogenization. There are already observations that some erosion of Filipino cultural values has taken place in recent years. This can be seen, among others, in the commodification of indigenous culture, sexual tourism, consumerism, and increasing materialism especially in the cities.

Science and Technology Trends.  Highly skilled Filipino scientists are improving the level of scientific contributions to various areas of economic importance. There is growing recognition of the value of indigenous science and technologies. In addition, the importance of holistic science to sustainable development is starting to be recognized both in civil society and the government. Nevertheless, reductionist science continues to inform the practice, teaching and applications of science in biology, economics, and social policy, among others. On the other hand, investments in such community- based resource development, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and other parameters are insufficient to sustain development in these sectors. While increasing ties between science and industry have been beneficial in some respects especially in making applied science more responsive to the needs of industry, this may have had the effect of curtailing the free, independent pursuit of knowledge for the common good. The risks posed by the links between science and industry are, nonetheless, being tempered by an increase in government funding support to safeguard the integrity of scientific endeavors. Institutional capacity to undertake R&D; has also been weakened by the 'brain drain' phenomenon.

Furthermore, the unfair monopoly practices (ownership of vast majority of global patents) over the intellectual property rights (IPR) process by the developed countries are increasingly becoming hindrances to the free flow of information and technology between and among developed and developing countries. The growing impact of science and technology on the socio-cultural, ecological, and economic fabric of society necessitates a grounding in the framework of sustainable development to address, among others: increasing use of technology as a simplistic response to complex problems; continued dominance of pollutive and environmentally destructive technologies; lack of adequate information exchange between scientists; poor science education; inadequate funding and facilities; lack of outlet for the publication and dissemination of scientific researches; and insufficient research in basic and ecological sciences.

Economic Trends.  Positive economic growth rates (as measured by GDP) have benefited certain sectors of Philippine society. GDP, as a measure of economic development, however, does not reflect the social decline and inequity, the deterioration of natural resources and environmental degradation associated with this economic growth. Meanwhile, the government is trying to address these related social and ecological issues. These linkages could be further complicated by the entry of the Philippines into international economic arrangements such as GATT-WTO, APEC, AFTA, BIMP-EAGA and moves towards liberalization inconsistent with inter- and intra- generational equity concerns. In the face of continued economic growth, there are remaining challenges that must be addressed with alternative macroeconomic solutions and indicators. These challenges include: the high level of public indebtedness; the low level of savings; inadequate backward/forward linkages to the domestic economy (especially in agriculture); remaining distortions in the price and incentive systems; large trade deficits; destructive mining activities; social and ecological pressures arising in growth corridors; rise of basement labor (child labor, landless rural and contractual workers in the urban areas), de-unionization, feminization and rampant casualization of labor; concentration of economic and market power; indiscriminate agricultural land and ecosystems conversion; real estate speculation; continuing migration of labor and imposition of poverty wages; continuing large overseas deployment of Filipino workers; and the threat of domination of markets by transnational corporations in the face of economic liberalization policies.

Urbanization Trends. Continuing difficulties in the implementation of agrarian and urban land reform and comprehensive rural development programs have contributed to unabated migration to urban areas. The absence of far-reaching comprehensive land use and human settlement plans has resulted in the growth of informal settlements. Rapid urbanization has resulted in the conversion of agricultural land to residential, commercial and industrial use and has displaced informal settler communities and undermined food security. Thus, Philippine cities have deteriorated as human habitats, beset with intractable and often interrelated problems including inadequate mass transportation and road systems; pollution, inadequate and inappropriate waste disposal; flooding; inadequate and unsustainable shelter; water shortage; deterioration of sanitation, health and other basic services, the proliferation of illegal drugs, increase in violence and criminality and other social ills.

Human Development Trends.  Existing measures of human development, such as the Human Development Index (HDI), which are limited to health, education and income, indicate some improvement over time. This improvement has in part been achieved through greater empowerment of the populace. Economic empowerment is evidenced by a reduction in the poverty incidence. Physical empowerment is indicated by the increasing upward trend in life expectancy, while educational empowerment is shown by the increasing functional literacy of the population. However, these improvements are uneven across geographical, income and ethnic groups and is benefiting men more than women. Increasing cultural awareness, gender sensitivity and local activism are indicative of an expanding consciousness. Nonetheless, the development of full human potential is being impacted by continuing challenges/trends such as: rampant substance abuse; economic exploitation (including prostitution and child labor, among others); break-up of families; significant incidence of street children and homelessness; increasing exposure of people (especially children) to environmental toxins; mixed quality of education; and limited access to livelihood opportunities. Some sectors are being marginalized in the development process leading to poverty and cultural decline as the major human development problems.

Environmental Trends.  While there is an acceleration in the growth of our economy, there is evidence that environmental quality is fast deteriorating, as dramatized by the increased occurrence of environmental disasters. Specifically, the gains of economic growth are being diminished and/or even negated by deforestation; mine tailings; pervasive and health-impairing pollution; coral reef destruction; massive pesticide poisonings; degradation and erosion of agricultural lands; siltation of rivers and farmlands; salt water intrusion into aquifers; and ill effects that arise from promotion of monocultures (oil palm plantations, for example); destructive eco-tourism; introduction of new technologies that adversely impact the environment; marsh and mangrove conversion; bio-prospecting / bio-piracy; land conversion to golf courses with attendant impacts on water supplies and surrounding ecosystems; massive reclamation projects which disrupt coastal ecosystems; open pit mining; pollutive cement plants and environmentally destructive coal-fired power plants as well as "dirty" energy sources; continued reliance on non-renewable energy sources; destructive fishing methods; and indiscriminate oil exploration and exploitation of seas. The costs of remediating water and air alone has been estimated at a minimum of 34 billion and 16 billion pesos, respectively. The regenerative capacities of already fragmented areas of various biogeographic zones are similarly threatened.

Meanwhile, conservation of biological diversity has become a focal point for environmental conservation efforts with the establishment of a national integrated protected areas system. There is also a growing awareness among the environmental community of the importance of biological diversity and the role of indigenous peoples including the Cordillera and the Moro people to the integrity of ecosystems. However, operationalization is slow. In addition, sustainable agriculture, agro-forestry, and environmentally sound fishery initiatives have spread to the majority of provinces in the Philippines. Recently, the government has taken a stricter stance towards the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) requirement for development projects, programs and activities, as mandated in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system. However, the continued lack of funding, political support from other sectors and expert staffing hamper the effective compliance and enforcement of environmental standards and the EIS process.

Institutional Trends.  The Philippines has strong institutional building blocks for sustainable development. These include a strong civil society; emergence of socially and environmentally conscious business groups; increasing involvement of both labor and other economic sectors in environmental programs; the provision for inter-agency mechanisms and multi-sectoral councils for sustainable development; regionalization and localization of national PO/NGO networks; innovative and collaborative partnerships, and an enabling environment for community empowerment as exemplified by efforts at devolution and strengthening local governance. Particularly noteworthy is the increasing number of business enterprises which have taken voluntary initiatives in environmental conservation. In addition, there are an increasing number of legislators who are supportive of institutionalizing sustainable development. However, these building blocks are plagued by several bottlenecks: ineffective mechanisms for enforcement and implementation; information inadequacies; lack of shared awareness; inadequate popularization and implementation of current national government policies and initiatives in sustainable development at the national and local levels; continuing systemic graft and corruption; lack of an adequate system of control rights over resources; the breakdown of stakeholder consensus on claims to resource use; continuing inadequate opportunities for and in some cases denial of civil society participation in some special bodies for local governance; problems delaying the devolution process; deficiency in appropriate science and technology orientation and skills; and/or delays in securing legislative support.

At the international level, the Philippines has been pursuing its active involvement in the arena of environment and sustainable development through, among others, the implementation of Agenda 21 by effectively participating in the work of the United Nations and other international organizations. At the same time, the Philippines is continuing the implementation of its obligations under other international environmental agreements. Furthermore, the government is attempting to pursue its economic development efforts within the context of a sustainable development framework. Information and access to information are becoming more significant in influencing, popularizing and effecting sustainable development. Inadequate sharing and inaccessibility of information among key actors of sustainable development hamper their ability to initiate and enhance sustainable development activities through information technology, public advocacy, and participation in governance and decision-making processes.

Political Trends.  The current wave of globalization is increasingly posing some threat to the country's national sovereignty as the imperatives of global capital often cannot be expected to be attuned to the national interest. Domestically, the rich continue to corner political power. The existence of inequitous structures and processes -- such as, political and economic dynasties, that favor the rich at the expense of the poor majority result in increased political and social conflicts. Narrow political and economic interests continue to impede the passage of environmental, socio-economic, agrarian reform, and other legislation important for sustainable development. The challenge continues for achieving genuine and broadbased representation in political processes as electoral reforms, mandated by the Constitution, are yet to be fully put in place. The Local Government Code (LGC) has reinforced the role of local government units (LGUs) in development administration. There have been significant attempts on the part of government to find innovative ways of improving governance and reforming the bureaucracy through collaborative partnerships with the larger society. Yet most of civil society still perceive these efforts as lacking in political will transparency, accountability, fairness, subsidiarity, and alternative policy options. Civil society, as a countervailing force, has been engaging government at all levels.


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Any concept of development, especially a multi-stakeholder approach to sustainable development, is implicitly or explicitly grounded on both an image of society and a shared vision of the development path of that society. Sustainable development must therefore take into consideration the reality of the Philippine context.

The image of society that guides Philippine Agenda 21 characterizes a significant number of modern societies today, some of which recognize that the key actors in any critical and principled partnership or conflict regarding sustainable development are the government, business, and civil society (Figure 2). To humanize development, there must be an interplay of market forces, state intervention, and civil society participation.

The existence and recognition of the three key actors in multi-stakeholder or counterparting processes, in turn, point to an equally significant reality: the functional differentiation (not division) of modern society into three realms, interacting with but independent from each other. These three essential societal dimensions - economy, polity, and culture, are the realms where the key sectors are active and from which the actors derive the substance for their dialogue and interaction with each other (see Figure 3). This image of society animates the vision, parameters, and strategies of sustainable development.

Business is the key actor in the realm of the economy where the central social concern and process is the mutually beneficial production and distribution of goods and services to meet the physical needs of human beings. Government is the key actor in the realm of polity where the central social concern and process is participatory, democratic governance and rule making to secure the human rights of all citizens including justice and equity. Civil society is the key actor in realm of culture where the central social concern and process is the development of the social and spiritual capacities of human beings in order, among others, to advance the frontiers of knowledge, to achieve clarity and coherence of values and to advocate the public interest. The three key actors in sustainable development can simply be viewed as the most organized and significant representatives of the prevailing social processes in each of the three essential dimensions of society.

The multi-stakeholder or counterparting approach in Philippine Agenda 21 recognizes that while these realms are functionally differentiated, they are interacting, dynamic and complementary components of an integral whole. Creative social unity and harmony can, therefore, only occur from a respect and appreciation of the mutually enhancing perspectives and roles of the key actors in these dimensions of society and ultimately of their free choice to collaborate towards achieving the higher, common good of society.

Society and its key actors, in pursuit of sustainable development, are bounded by two key considerations. On the physical and material side, the key actors must nurture the integrity and carrying capacity of the varied ecosystems, landscape ecologies, and ultimately the biosphere of the earth. On the human side, the key actors must also affirm that their respective social processes empower the freedom, creativity, and caring capacity of individuals who are the essence of society (Figure 3). Hence, the pursuit of sustainable development is grounded on the primacy of people and nature in the development process.

Thus the essence of sustainable development is in the harmonious integration of a sound and viable economy, responsible governance, social cohesion/harmony and ecological integrity to ensure that development is a life-enhancing process. In this context, the ultimate aim of development is human development now and through future generations. Failing this, development is bound to be `jobless' and `ruthless' (in the realm of the economy), `rootless' (in the realm of culture), `voiceless' (in the realm of polity), and `futureless' (in the realm of nature) as detailed in the 1996 UNDP Human Development Report.


Philippine Agenda 21 envisions a better quality of life for all through the development of a just, moral, creative, spiritual, economically vibrant, caring, diverse yet cohesive society characterized by appropriate productivity, participatory and democratic processes, and living in harmony within the limits of the carrying capacity of nature and the integrity of creation.

This vision of society provides a guiding framework for sustainable development where the parameters and strategies of sustainable development are operational throughout society. The Philippine Agenda 21 approach adheres to the following principles of sustainable development (Figure 4):

  1. Primacy of Developing Full Human Potential. People are at the core of development initiatives.
  2. Holistic Science and Appropriate Technology. The search for solutions to the complex milieu of development problems has to be undertaken with the perspective that situates specific problems in the larger social and ecological context. This approach facilitates the development and use of appropriate technology.
  3. Cultural, Moral and Spiritual Sensitivity. Nurturing the inherent strengths of local and indigenous knowledge, practices and beliefs while respecting the cultural diversity, moral norms and spiritual essence of Filipino society.
  4. Self-determination. Respecting the right and relying on the inherent capacity of the country and its peoples to decide on the course of their own development
  5. National Sovereignty. Self-determination at the national level where the norms of society and the specifics of the local ecology inform national governance. Includes human and environmental security as well as achieving and ensuring security and self-reliance in basic staple foods. Recognizing the crucial role of farmers and fisherfolk in providing for the nutritional needs of the nation.
  6. Gender sensitivity. Recognizing the important and complementary roles and the empowerment of both men and women in development.
  7. Peace, Order And National Unity. Securing the right of all to a peaceful and secure existence.
  8. Social Justice, Inter-, Intra-Generational and Spatial Equity. Ensuring social cohesion and harmony through equitable distribution of resources and providing the various sectors of society with equal access to development opportunities and benefits today and in the future.
  9. Participatory democracy. Ensuring the participation and empowerment of all sectors of society in development decision-making and processes and to operationalize intersectoral and multisectoral consensus.
  10. Institutional viability. Recognizing that sustainable development is a shared, collective and indivisible responsibility which calls for institutional structures that are built around the spirit of solidarity, convergence and partnership between and among different stakeholders.
  11. Viable, sound and broad-based economic development. Development founded on a stable economy where the benefits of economic progress are equitably shared across ages, communities, gender, social classes, ethnicities, geographical units and across generations.
  12. Sustainable population. Achieving a sustainable population level, structure and distribution while taking cognizance of the limited carrying capacity of nature and the interweaving forces of population, culture, resources, environment and development.
  13. Ecological soundness. Recognizing nature as our common heritage and thus respecting the limited carrying capacity and integrity of nature in the development process to ensure the right of present and future generations to this heritage.
  14. Biogeographical Equity and Community-Based Resource Management. Recognizing that since communities residing within or most proximate to an ecosystem of a bio-geographic region will be the ones to most directly and immediately feel the positive and negative impacts on that ecosystem, they should be given prior claim to the development decisions affecting that ecosystem including management of the resources. To ensure biogeographic equity, other affected communities should be involved in such decisions.
  15. Global Cooperation. Building upon and contributing to the diverse capacities of individual nations.

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Operationally, sustainable development is development that draws out the full human potential across ages and generations and is, at the same time, ecologically friendly, economically sound, politically empowering, socially just and equitable, spiritually liberating, gender sensitive, based on holistic and integrative science, technologically appropriate, builds upon Filipino values, history, culture, and excellence, and rests upon strong institutional foundations.

Development is sustainable if it is fully guided by the Parameters and Strategies listed below.


  • Economic activity, productivity, and profitability are circumscribed by the limits of the earth's fragile integrity and carrying capacity and the rights and responsibilities of human beings for a more equitable distribution of economic resources and products, social justice and peace, true democracy, freedom, and respect for indigenous and Filipino values and culture.
  • National sovereignty, social and human development, and ecological integrity are not curtailed, eroded, sacrificed and/or ultimately destroyed in the process of opening up the economy to world trade and investments.
  • Development policies are redirected to minimize and mitigate, and eventually arrest and reverse the human, social and ecological costs of conventional economic modernization.
  • The pursuit of economic activity is in the context of more stable, sustainable, socially empowering, gender sensitive and broad-based development.
  • Ecologically, economically and socially sound strategies and structures replace energy- and material-intensive, environmentally degrading, and economically inefficient patterns of production, distribution and consumption.
  • Unsustainable, as well as conspicuous, luxury, and excessive consumption are discouraged through economic as well as social and regulatory instruments.
  • All sectors of society adopt a systems approach to promote the use of safe and clean production technologies, effective recycling and waste minimization techniques.
  • Precautionary approach is adopted in economic and environmental management with emphasis on preventive rather than mitigating measures.
  • Labor is no longer reduced to a commodity and is thus protected from exploitative, unsafe and unhealthy terms and conditions of employment and arbitrary business adjustment policies toward market uncertainties.
  • Filipino creativity, skills, initiative, diligence and other talents rather than low wage rates become the basis of attracting domestic and foreign investment.
  • Economic progress will increasingly rely on the creative energies and ingenuity of the Filipinos, hence, investments are channeled towards the improvement of human capital and the social infrastructure.
  • Economic enterprises internalize social and ecological responsibility by carrying out business activities within the framework of sustainable development.
  • Private sector provides significant support to sustainable development efforts by being responsible for internalization of sustainable development principles within its decisions and operations as well as through direct grants, donations, financial partnerships and other innovative financing arrangements as well as sharing of technology and expertise with other sustainable development actors/implementors.


  • National sovereignty is protected and defended as part of the country's inherent right to self-determination for its people, culture, economy, politics and environment. Uncompromised national sovereignty truly pursues a pro-poor, pro-people, pro-nature, spiritual path of development, contextualizing economic reforms, including poverty eradication, within the broader framework of sustainable development.
  • Participatory governance, cooperative partnerships and devolution form the guiding framework at local, provincial and national levels in operationalizing sustainable development. LGUs and sustainable development advocates are primarily responsible to advance sustainable development by the integration of Philippine Agenda 21 into the formulation of local and regional strategies. 
  • The process of participatory governance is guided and enhanced by extensive multi-sectoral consultations, dialogues, and representations; discussion of alternative policy options, and by the principles of subsidiarity, transparency, accountability and fairness. Meaningful public participation in relevant decision-making processes towards reforming the bureaucracy, including administrative structures and processes, is achieved through adequate social preparation, sectoral representation and with a clear understanding of the practice of dialogue and principled negotiations. 
  • Electoral reforms, including awareness-raising activities by all sectors of society, usher in an era of true democracy to replace the elite democracy that has dominated the political process. 
  • Government provides an enabling environment for the equitable and appropriate matching of sustainable development investment programs and projects with financial resources, including both domestic and foreign, public and private, in accordance with plans and programs developed in coordination with various sectors of society. 
  • Development policy creates an environment where sustainable patterns of production, distribution and consumption permeate and govern the whole society. 
  • Deep social and ecological considerations are directly embedded in the long term development framework, policies, and activities of the nation, in effect internalizing ecological and social costs, transforming the concept of the "safety" net to a more pro-active and structural stance, and rejecting a "grow now, pay later" approach. 
  • The conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and natural resources by self-reliant communities in rural areas are given greater priority, and appropriate rural development is structurally linked and balanced with urban development.
  • A new, comprehensive indicator of sustainable development, incorporating both qualitative and quantitative measures of human (including basic needs), social (including family ties), institutional, and ecological health is adopted to complement and supplement current gross national product / gross domestic product (GNP/GDP), environment and natural resources accounting (ENRA), human development index (HDI), gender development index (GDI), and sustainable national income (SNI) indicators. 
  • Sustainable community-based resource management is promoted including ensuring appropriate resource access and asset reform as well as defense and recognition of ancestral domain and community intellectual rights. 
  • Peace and order are pursued and maintained in recognition of basic human rights and the rights of individuals, communities and society as a whole to a peaceful and secure existence. 
  • National security concerns include human security, environmental security, food security and self-sufficiency. 
  • Existing policies, plans, programs, projects and initiatives are reviewed, monitored, and evaluated on the basis of PA21 by line agencies in active collaboration with the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and other advocates of sustainable development. 
  • Multi-stakeholder and community-based sustainable development plans and programs are prioritized over national plans and programs that undermine sustainable development. Such multi-stakeholder and community-based sustainable resource management plans and/or programs are also considered as bases for national development planning.


  • Civil society is further reinforced and institutionalized through its own self-empowering activities and self-accreditation mechanisms, a supportive and healthy climate for participatory governance; distributive or associative economic activity as well as appropriate support from all spheres of society  
  • The contributions of cultural and social capital to the creation of surplus wealth are recognized; the insufficient funding of their sustenance and development is corrected; and there is balance in the allocation of finances/capital for the formation of the other forms of capital: physical, human, ecological, cultural, spiritual and social capital. 
  • Education for sustainable development is geared towards the realization of the full potential of the human being as an individual and as an integral member of a family, community, and society as a whole. Besides developing economic, ecological, political, and cultural literacy and competence, education also promotes human well-being, develops emotional and mental intelligence as well as the moral and spiritual potentials of the human being. Moreover, education motivates the human being to place one's developed capacities in the service of the Supreme Being, nature, society, and sustainable development.  
  • The development of holistic and nationalistic approaches to sustainable development draws upon inherent Filipino values, traditions, practices, indigenous knowledge and areas of excellence. 
  • Filipino multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity are respected.

Science and Technology

  • The utilization of renewable/non-conventional energy resources, appropriate technology, and the promotion of energy conservation and efficiency guide energy development programming that aims, among others, to reduce local pollution and environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Reductionist science policy is balanced and contextualized by more holistic, comprehensive, and integrative scientific paradigms and methodologies, including indigenous knowledge systems and ecology. These holistic sciences elucidate the essence of nature, human beings, and society thereby enhancing and strengthening the traditional and/or scientific practices necessary for sustainable development. 
  • The different sciences are placed on an independent financial footing vis-à-vis industry through the significant increase in financial infusion from innovative and alternative sources including government, foundations, and individuals who are guided by the need for a new kind of science and technology that will help support and achieve sustainable development.  
  • Environment-friendly and clean technologies suited to Philippine conditions are generated, adopted, promoted and mainstreamed to eventually replace polluting and environmentally destructive technologies.


  • The integrity and carrying capacity of the environment and natural resources are not degraded, but rather conserved, protected and enhanced in the process of development. 
  • Environmental management tools in policy and decision making, covering the full life cycle of economic commodities as well as services, such as, but not limited to, integrated resource planning, are adopted.  
  • The biological limits to natural resource productivity are scientifically researched and established and become the bases for strategic policy decisions on societal use of the country's natural resources. 
  • Environmental protection is viewed as a shared and indivisible responsibility of all individuals, families, communities, and other institutions in society. 
  • Communities' access to and control of common natural resources, such as water and biodiversity, is assured.  
  • Biological diversity conservation and enhancement are pursued through direct involvement of local communities and indigenous peoples and the extension of support to institutional initiatives including the harmonization of national and local policies, legislation and programs, to protect biodiversity. 
  • Regular review, proposals for appropriate amendment or repeal, and strict enforcement of environmental laws are undertaken by both communities and appropriate government institutions.


  • The family is strengthened in its role of nurturing free, equally appreciated, responsible, creative and caring individuals who are the essence of society, so that threats to the integrity of the family are effectively addressed through, among others, regeneration of family values. 
  • The root causes of violence and conflict are addressed so that peace and sustainable development, which are interrelated and indivisible, are achieved and maintained.  
  • A sustainable population level, structure and distribution are achieved and maintained through education, family life and responsible parenthood trainings, reduction of socio-economic and gender inequity, geographically and ecologically balanced development, and life-enhancing policies, among others.
  • The major groups of society are empowered and allowed to fully participate in all stages of development. 
  • Sustainable human settlements, characterized, among others, by equitable access to adequate shelter for all, are promoted and ensured. These settlements provide for satisfaction of basic needs that make for decent living including security of land tenure and ancestral domain, quality education, livelihood, leisure, freedom, water, health, housing, sanitation, infrastructure and communications. 
  • Women, youth, indigenous people, fisherfolk, peasants, elderly, urban poor, formal labor, workers in the informal sector, children and persons with disabilities are recognized as equal partners in shaping, crafting and implementing development programs; their contribution, including a significant economic role, is recognized in creating a healthy and safe-living environment; and their rights are respected. 
  • The integral link among indigenous peoples, nature and land is recognized; the rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral domain are recognized and protected; their culture respected; and their indigenous knowledge and practices taken as guides to sustainable resource management. 
  • Environmental and social awareness as well as the development of environmental, social and biological ethics, are vigorously promoted. 
  • Unsustainable lifestyle consumption patterns and luxurious and/or excessive consumption are discouraged through economic, social and regulatory instruments.  
  • Fragile and threatened communities are given special consideration with regards to their greater vulnerability in the face of development plans, programs and projects. 
  • Social, spatial and intergenerational equity and justice are promoted in guiding the planning, implementation and approval of policies, programs, projects, and activities. 
  • Development activities and interventions are undertaken with the primary aim of building the capacities of communities for self-reliance in consideration of their self-dignity and inherent capacity to improve their own lives. 
  • Delivery of social services, notably accessible and quality education and health care, is accorded equally high priority in financial and investment policy and programming. 
  • The youth, which represent one entire generation of sectors and individuals, will take up the cudgels and participate in the crusade towards realizing the goals and visions of Philippine Agenda 21. As such, they should be provided with the necessary support structures for educational and moral values and activities development.


  • The institutional competence and capability to manage sustainable development is improved and financially supported. 
  • Financial support is provided for the improvement of social infrastructure as part of the overall economic infrastructure. 
  • Commitments undertaken by the Philippines under the multilateral/bilateral environmental agreements are operationalized domestically through legislative actions, setting-up of institutions and adoption of programs of action integrating these commitments into national action plans. 
  • The Philippines continues to take the lead in formulating and articulating positions of developing countries related to sustainable development to narrow the gap between developed/industrialized countries and developing countries. 
  • Sustainable development efforts are operationalized locally, recognizing the significant role LGUs will have to play in close cooperation with the different sectors of society. 
  • Mechanisms are provided and supported to enhance access, flow and feedback of information among civil society, government and business, utilizing all available forms of communication and information for transparency. 
  • Government implements strict comprehensive measures to stop graft and corruption and improve bureaucratic efficiencies so that it responds in a timely and effective manner to the critical needs of people and communities. 
  • Competence and capabilities of LGUs, civil society and communities to manage sustainable development are improved and financially supported. 
  • Development planning and approaches for sustainable development are installed at the LGU and community levels, through a sustained capability building and technical assistance program by national government. 
  • Administrative agency or machinery is established at the regional, provincial and city levels to operationalize the planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring of Philippine Agenda 21.



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