SDGs provide good bases for choosing who to vote for

the-agora1

(Last of 3 Parts)

Every election the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) and the well-meaningcitizensdo not miss the chance to remind usand persuade the voters to choose their candidatesand vote wisely. Every time though, in Bohol at least, the voters proved that money is still the best guide and mover in choosingthecandidate to vote for.

This time ‘One Good Vote’ has been launched but again knowing the ningas-cogon mentality of the Filipinos, it could be another one movement dying of a natural death even before its true value could be digested, appreciated and followed.

So is the situation hopeless? Is it enough reason to say “I surrender?” God the Son (to give our column a touch of the Lenten season), became man and died on the cross to save man, the sinner. Any movement like the One Good Vote can never give up especially before it could take off. Jesus never gve up even at the expense of His own life.We cannot give up and we need more active support from every one.

I discussed in the last two issues of The Agora the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the UN has come up with for the whole world to move towards and push for programs to attain them. And so we are adding these as the reckoning points from where to base our judgement in voting. Any candidate for national election should be grounded on these issues or we fail in our international commitments. But more than that, we will fail our own people.

So I said we ask our candidates what they are going to do with these goals. How are they going to direct their programs to addressthe issues raised by the whole world and help attain the goals? I was through with the four (4) goals. Now what are the rest?

Here they are: Goal No. 5. “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Statistics showed that in Southern Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 1990. By 2012, the enrolment ratios were the same for girls and for boys.In 46 countries, women now hold more than 30% of seats in national parliament. But women in Northern Africa hold less than one in five paid jobs in the non-agri sector.

Goal No. 6: “ Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”In 2015, 91% of the global population is using an improved drinking water source, compared to 76% in 1990. However, 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines.Each day, an average of 5,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diseases.

Goal No. 7. “Ensure access to affordable sustainable and modern energy for all.”1.3 billion people – one in five globally – still lack access to modern electricity.Three (3) billion people rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating.Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Goal No. 8: “Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”Global unemployment increased from 170M in 2007 to nearly 202 M in 2012, of which about 75 M are young women and men.Nearly 2.2 billion people live below the US$2 poverty line.470 M jobs are needed globally for new entrants to the labour market between 2016 and 2030.

Goal No. 9: “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and further innovation.”In developing countries, barely 30% of agricultural production undergoes industrial processing. This suggests great opportunities for developing countries in agribusiness.Manufacturing is an important employer, accounting for 470M jobs (16%). Industrialization’s job multiplication effect has a positive impact on society. Every one job in manufacturing creates 2.2 in other sectors.

Goal 10: “Reduce inequality within and among countries.”Children in the poorest 20% of the population are still up to three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than children in the richest quintiles. Women in rural areas are still up to three times more likely to die while giving birth than women living in urban centres.

Goal 11: “Make cities and human resettlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” Rapid urbanization is exerting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health.Cities have the potential to optimize energy efficient by reducing energy consumption and adopting green- energy systems. In Rizhao, China , a solar powered city, 99% of HHs in its central districts, use solar water heaters.

Even just for these 11 SDGs, surely, our nationalcandidates must have something in mind to commit to be done if we have to retain the respect of our neighboring countries. What are they going to do with these? The same questions can also be asked of our local candidates. After all, they will be the implementing arms of the national government.

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