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MANILA, Philippines – Ending poverty is a global concern with local solutions.

When the United Nations (UN) developed and approved the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), they decided the best way to meet those targets was to let communities develop methods that work best for them. For the Philippines, this means local government units (LGUs) are at the heart of poverty eradication.

The Local Government Academy (LGA), the training arm of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), is bringing poverty eradication to the grassroots by continuing the Millennium Development Goals – Family-based Actions for Children and Their Environs in the Slums (MDG-FACES) in the SDG era.

This program, renamed the SDG-FACES project, focuses on empowering mothers and women-headed households living in slums to take the lead in managing the Family SDG Covenant. The document contains the community’s proposed targets and actions to achieve them while also helping participants track their progress.

The LGA intends to cover 75 LGUs and reach 3,000 children (1,500 boys and 1,500 girls) and 3,000 women.

From MDG-FACES to SDG-FACES

Transition to the SDG-FACES is already underway with former MDG-FACES participants undergoing a workshop from January 30 to February 1, 2017 to orient them on the SDGs and its targets, the logistics involved, and possible challenges the communities may face.

They agreed disaggregated data was necessary to determine which groups to target while quantifiable indicators would help them identify the gaps in the area.

While the National Economic Development Authority and National Statistical Coordination Board were working together to prepare the indicators, Bong Antonio of the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Philippine office suggested LGUs include private sector groups in their data collection.

After the workshop, the LGA will choose the participants for the SDG-FACES’ first batch before beginning the rollout. At the end of each batch, the agency will document the best practices and evaluate the project.

Local actions for the Global Goals

By the time the Philippines adopted the SDGs, MDG-FACES participants already made significant progress, with Sagay City in Negros Occidental even extending the project through their MDG Village.

Now the SDGs are in force, LGUs are once again called to take an active role in policy development and implementation.

“The implementation of the new agenda will depend on actions taken at national and local levels. It is there that attention will need to be focused and investments made, if we are to make the transformative shifts which advancing human and sustainable development requires,” wrote Helen Clark, Chair of the UN Development Group.

With the successes of the MDGs and looming global concerns like climate change, the challenge of addressing these issues and improving life around the world is in local governments’ hands.

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