Today is a day of solidarity, of power created by cooperation and unity.
It is a day of hope and belief in a just and sustainable society
The Province of East Flanders, in partnership with Solidagro, a Belgian NGO, is working together with the CDPC network in the Cordillera since 1994. It is a successful partnership, which has recently been extended again for another 3 years!
It is a partnership on sustainable development of the Cordillera region. Sustainability is not only about environment, it is also about equality, social justice, and about participation of the people, and human rights.
Worldwide 193 nations agreed to work on the Sustainable Development Goals, to shift the world to a path of sustainable development - to deliver on economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. They aim to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and take action against climate change.
They aim to improve living conditions in the present while safeguarding the resources of our planet for future generations.
Also the Philippines is one of the countries who signed the agreement.
We can feel your doubts.
We think all of the goals are important in the Philippines. But the most important goals seem to be the goals 15 and 16.
Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
We are only observers from a distance, but we know it will not be easy in the Philippines to achieve these goals.
There is a problem when the policies on mining, energy, and agriculture etc are not sustainable, and disregard the people and the environment
There is a problem when people who fight for sustainable development are considered terrorists.
There is a problem when indigenous people, for whom sustainability is the foundation of their culture, are ignored.
Nations should recognize and support the knowledge, the identity, culture and interests of indigenous people.
In the Cordillera there is a strong civil society. This civil society will be necessary to repair and safeguard the balance between economic growth and human and ecological interests.
During our visits we perceived the great commitment and perseverance of the organizations in the Cordillera. Even in small and isolated villages people are organized to work for social changes, to change their own future in the short and long term.
We have a great respect for this commitment.
We support the movement for a more sustainable society. As long as we can we will support our partners in the Philippines, because we believe that without a social movement there will be no sustainable changes.
We hope the social movement in the Philippines can continue to grow, we hope more and more people will believe in the power of cooperation, believe in the possibility of change
We wish you luck and courage.
From your partners, your friends of the Province of East Flanders
Deputy of the Province of East Flanders