There is a growing consensus all over the world that “development must meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs,” this is in relation to the global concerns over the effects of unregulated activities over the environment and natural resources. But beyond a vague consensus, born more out of fear than hope, there is little understanding yet about either the concept of sustainable development or a concrete plan of action to achieve it. As a response to this challenge, during the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, United Nation formulated the Agenda 21, a very powerful framework for development which balances economic with ecological, political, cultural, social, human and spiritual considerations.
Amidst one-sided economic prosperity, the Philippines continues to suffer from the after effects of super-typhoons: lakes and beaches dying through pollution, the predatory violence of corrupt government, massive outflow of young Filipinos to other nations, drugs, crime, low quality education and a host of other challenges.
These challenges cannot be easily fixed. They are not simple but systemic, they are not isolated but interrelated. And yet development efforts continue to be piecemeal and sectoral in nature.
The Philippines, as one of the first countries in the world to recognize that economic development is closely linked and enhanced by the strategic pursuit of the other dimensions of development. As part of its commitment to the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, the Philippines introduced an integral sustainable development model called Philippine Agenda 21 or PA21. Due to the systemic and interrelated nature of developmental challenges, the Philippine government, in collaboration with civil society and business, innovated and introduced seven dimensions in its framework of integral sustainable development: ecological, economic, political, cultural, societal, human, and spiritual.
PA21 pioneered in advocating cross-sectoral partnerships in what is now being called globally the “Solutions Revolution” or “Innovation Ecosystems” or “The Rainforest”, and private-public-civil society partnerships nationally. Thus, the key challenge then is how to put PA 21 into action.
The formulation of Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD): A framework for the localization of Philippine Agenda 21 is the answer to the challenge how PA21 put in action.
Pursuant to Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it is the policy of the State to protect advance the right of the people to a balanced and ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature and Article XIII that provides for the promotion of social justice and human rights including the commitment to create economic opportunities based freedom of initiative and self-reliant. This SIAD strategy as adapted by the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) (DAO No.2017-02) is also paramount policy response to Executive Order No. 1 (S. 2016) and the clamor of the Filipino people for a system of governance that will finally reverse the centuries’ worth of human suffering, environmental desolation, societal discrimination, moral hazard, and historical injustice towards activating the full potential of the Philippines within 15 years.
Environmental Governance is a concept in political ecology and environmental policy that advocates sustainability or sustainable development as the supreme consideration for managing all human activities- political, social and economic in government and municipalities. Governance includes government, business and civil society, and emphasizes whole system management. To capture this diverse range of elements, environmental governance often employs alternative systems which is one of the major thrusts of Solution Ecosystems Activator (SEA), Inc.
Thus, from these premises that this proposal “Environmental Governance” was develop by Solution Ecosystems Activator(SEA), Inc. and presented to Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE) –Philippines for funding consideration and possible approval.
For the organization, a systemic and holistic approach is also needed with other persistent challenges, including corruption and climate change. What is needed is a development approach that is truly inclusive and can address complex issues.
SEA, Inc. brings together diverse talents and resources to achieve significant impact across a broad array of issues. In recent years, the world has discovered very powerful approaches to address the planet’s greatest challenges. The essence of these approaches is the coming together of civil society, government, and business around a challenge where they combine their unique talents and resources to create innovative solutions. It views natural resources and the environment as one of the most important issues relevant in our society nowadays. Natural resources are not diminished when they are shared. This means that everyone benefits from for example, a breathable atmosphere, stable climate and stable biodiversity.
The main partners of SEA, Inc. in this endeavor are the schools that are in its partner communities.
These partner schools have established their respective organization of Earth Stewards compose of students from different levels and departments and have started, in their own little ways, their activities in addressing these environmental concerns in their areas.