The Philippine Agenda 21

What is Agenda 21?

Agenda 21 is a program of action into the 21st century for bringing the Earth into a sustainable future. It was adopted by the participating governments of the world in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), otherwise known as the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992.

What is Philippine Agenda 21 (PA 21)?

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 Strategies

PA 21 is the Philippines’ commitment to the UNCED. It also lays down the mix of strategies that integrate the parameters in the country’s overall development strategy, identifies the intervention areas (or Action Agenda) – from the national to the regional level – with the corresponding implementing platforms and plans.

What is the Vision of PA 21?

PA 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 process and living in harmony within the limits of the carrying capacity of nature and the integrity of creation.

What is sustainable development?

Sustainable development as defined in the PA 21 (1996) is “harmonious integration of a sound and viable economy, responsible governance, social cohesion and ecological integrity, to ensure that development is a life-sustaining process.”

What is the Enhanced PA 21?

Ten yeas after the UNCED, world leaders gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to reinvigorate global commitment to sustainable development. In line with the Johannesburg Summit, the PA 21 was updated into the Enhanced PA 21, particularly noting that:

- The rise of globalization and the creation of an external environment of finance, markets, and technology did not seem conducive to sustainable development.
- The civil society needs to specify its commitments and contributions to achieving sustainability in the updated document.
- Government departments need to be imbued with the sustainable development perspective with which to handle issues properly.

What are the Goal Elements of the Enhanced PA 21?

The Enhanced PA 21 has five goal elements, as follows:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 underdevelopment.

5. 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.

What is the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development?

The Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) is a multi-sectoral body formed to coordinate and monitor the fulfillment of the commitments of the Philippines to the UNCED, and later, the WSSD. It has spearheaded the formulation of PA 21.

Who are the key actors in sustainable development work?

Philippine Agenda 21 (PA 21) recognizes three key actors in sustainable development, and their roles in different realms of society. They are:

- Business, the key actor in economy, which is mainly concerned with producing goods and services for people.
- Government, the key actor in polity, which is concerned with democratic governance and security of human rights.
- Civil society, the key actor in culture, which is concerned with the development of the social and spiritual capacities of human beings.

For inquiries, please contact:
The PCSD Coordinating Secretariat c/o NEDA Agriculture Staff
3rd Floor, NEDA Pasig Building, Amber Avenue, Pasig, Metro Manila 1600
Tel. Nos. 631-37-45/14, Fax. No. 633-60-15,