Statement on ICESDF's session on innovative initiatives and best practices
Posted on 9 April 2014
Co-Creating New Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development
3-4 April 2014, Finland
Statement for the session on innovative initiatives and best practices
Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo
Thank you to the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and our host the government of Finland for this opportunity to share our views.
I would like to begin with a few examples of best practices in sustainable development before addressing innovative financing. There are many examples of best practices, but I would like to focus on what works and makes a difference at the local level, on the ground. These practices promote grassroots participation, enhances self-reliance, with production driven by local needs and based on local resources.
One example is fair trade, which in the Philippines, is more than buying and selling at fair prices, but is also about helping poor communities fulfill their human rights, is about social justice, dignity and economic opportunity that is not exploitative. Fair trade provides decent jobs with fair wages, socially shared benefits and promotes values that respect human and economic rights. A concrete case is the Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC), a fair trade business founded in 1991 by a women’s association. It is involved in producing organically grown sugar cane and bananas and is the Philippines’ biggest exporter of fairly traded, certified organic muscovado sugar and banana chips. PFTC provides livelihood and employment to many families in the communities where it operates, helping poor farmers, small sugar millers and unemployed people organize small industries that export to shops selling fairly traded products. It is unfortunate that just two weeks ago the Chairperson of its Board of Directors and former manager, Romeo Capalla, 65, was gunned down, which highlights that to this day grassroots activists, human rights defenders and solidarity entrepreneurs like Capalla fall victim to extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
Another best practice that needs to be put into more practice is pro-poor procurement, on which Eurodad has done an excellent study[i]. It points that pro-poor procurement has a double dividend for eliminating poverty: while the poor benefit from the outputs of development projects – anew road, bridge or school that the community can use – theyalso gain from the employment and income opportunities that these projects generate. Governments and aid agencies can use their substantial purchasing power to motivate contractors or firms they use to adopt positive social and environmental outcomes. Requiring contractors to comply with labor and environmental standards as well as using procurement to the benefit of the poor and marginalized, especially women, are important steps to sustainability. Unfortunately, despite its evident benefits, pro-poor procurement israrely applied in practice. The reason is often simply about convenience: project managers for instance simply find it quicker and easier to deal with large and experienced contractors, thus limiting the use of pro-poor and sustainable procurement methods.
I have mentioned women, but I would like to particularly highlight the wealth of sustainable practices of rural women in Asia, who face increasing challenges of low income, rising food prices, land grabbing,