07 MARCH 2011
Meeting the millennium challenges
The month of March, being Women’s Month, is proving to be another busy month for women as well as the ever-hopeful advocates for ecological integrity in our ailing planet. The activities lined up this week are centered on meeting the millennium challenges by achieving the goals of poverty alleviation and building a low-carbon economy and resilient communities to respond to the grave effects of climate change.
It is timely indeed that with certain sectors making the Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras the unfortunate scapegoat for the failed fossil-fuel obsessed energy policies of the Arroyo administration, a Summit on Renewable Energy (RE) at the SM City Cebu Trade Hall, Cebu City is scheduled today and tomorrow.
With a theme of “Meeting the Challenges of Sustainable Energy Development in Central Visayas,” the topics for discussion include Greening Energy: Removing Roadblocks to Renewables; Setting the Policy Environment for RE, Renewable and Sustainable Biomass Power Generation Impacts for the Visayas, RE and Barangay Electrification, RE and Climate Change, Community-based RE Development, Public-private partnerships on RE, Financing RE; Clean Energy Technologies: Harnessing the Power of the Sun, Road Map for RE: Action Plan for the Visayas.
Expected to share their thoughts with the participants from Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental are Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, DOE Secretary Jose Almendras and Assistant Secretary Mariano Marasigan, Cebu City Councilor Nida Cabrera, DILG-Cebu City Director Patricio Gabuya, Prof. Lourdes Montenegro of the University of San Carlos, Gareth Russell, Marketing Manager, Beyond Building Energy; David Montaigne, CEO Global Green Power; Mark Dia of Green Peace and Tony Oposa.
The DOE has committed to increase its RE-based capacity by 100 percent by 2013. Our participation in this summit and activities thereafter can pave the way to an earlier attainment of the goal.
The summit is a brainchild of the Cebu City Government, the private sector such as SM and NGOs namely, A2D Project – Research Group for Alternatives to Development, Philippine Earth Justice Center, Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water Foundation, Regional Center of Expertise for Education on Sustainable Development (RCE) – Cebu and Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center, in partnership with the business community and civil society organizations.
On March 12, it is the turn of youth from the University of Cebu and Sangguniang Kabataan of Cebu City to co-host the Youth for the Environment Summit (YES), in collaboration with SMART Communications, University of Cebu, Pagasa and other partners. Youth leaders from various universities are expected to converge in Cebu City Hall to discuss climate change and citizen participation in disaster risk reduction and management programs and projects. Expect their mantra, “I choose to say YES” to become a buzzword soon.
Yesterday, Barangay Luz Administrator Ronnie Sab-a, its active SK official Maynard,and I had the chance to participate in the Environmental Symposium organized by fourth year high school students of the Cebu City National Science High School under the guidance of their dynamic physics teacher Emersen Echavez. It was a gathering that involved officers and constituents of barangay Labangon with the theme “Pakiglambigit Para sa Kaayuhan sa Kalibutan.” Kudos to the organizers.
Tomorrow, the world celebrates the centenary of International Women’s Day (IWD). IWD is a “global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future” (www.internationalwomensday.com/default.asp). While strides had been taken to elevate the status of women, there is still much work to do in meeting the challenge of gender discrimination. The Magna Carta for Women is a law but mainstreaming gender equality in the programs and policies of our country is still a dream to be achieved. For one, there is still no sectoral representation, which includes a woman representative, at our local lawmaking bodies, a glaring violation of the Constitution.
The Filipino Commission for Women (www.ncrfw.gov.ph) enjoins all sectors to celebrate the month of March as Women’s Month with the theme: “Magna Carta of Women, Philippine CEDAW: In support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” The 8 Millennium Development Goals aims to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development.
I wonder how many of our citizens, especially barangay leaders and local chief executives, know what MDGs are and their significance to our life? Take on the MDG challenge, LGUs. About time.
We are now in the era where citizens are urgently required to participate and be part of the decision-making process in crafting a sustainable tomorrow. It is inspiring that more people, especially our women and our youth, are visibly and seriously taking on the millennium challenges that we are facing. They are aware that sustainable development, as a goal that we value and believe in, does not happen by chance or overnight, requiring as it does an overhaul of mindsets, practices and lifestyles.
As Mother Teresa put it, “Life is a challenge, meet it.”
Read article source in Inquirer.net, March 7, 2011