SDGs gain momentum in Surigao City with localization project

Marking a significant advancement in the city’s commitment to integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into local governance and planning, Surigao City conducted a two-day SDG localization activity on April 23-24 in partnership with UN-Habitat.

Under the Agenda 2030/SDG Localization Project, the event brought together city stakeholders including representatives from the city departments/offices, faith-based organizations, Barangay officials, the Sama-Bajau community, Community and Family Services International, and the national government through the regional offices of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Agenda 2030 Project aims to advance the inclusive localization of the SDGs in selected countries by harnessing the potential of Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR). Surigao City is the only city in the Philippines selected for this global project, potentially enhancing its development trajectory and ensuring that growth is sustainable, inclusive, and aligned with global best practices.

This SDG localization initiative also coincides with the city’s current partnership with UN-Habitat on the Huy-anan nan Bajau sa Surigao (Home for the Bajau in Surigao), a project rebuilding the community of the indigenous Sama-Bajaus who were affected by Typhoon Rai in 2021.

Workshop in localizing SDGs

On the first day of the activity, UN-Habitat Country Programme Manager Christopher Rollo provided an overview of Agenda 2030 and the SDG localization process, reorienting participants of the 17 Goals and the importance of adapting these global goals to local contexts.  UN-Habitat Technical Officer Lara Togonon-De Castro discussed the use of indicators in the VLR process, which is crucial for tracking the city’s progress towards these goals.

Sharing the national government perspectives, Jacky Mellorin from DILG and Kristine Anne Guinoo from NEDA presented the strategies and ongoing efforts on SDG implementation. Their insights underscored the vertical integration of the SDGs within the Philippine national and local development planning process, ensuring that these global goals are converted to relevant local agendas.

The workshop likewise provided a segment where participants identified and prioritized development issues that align with the SDGs. This exercise served not only as a planning activity but also as a significant step towards solidifying the commitment of various stakeholders to the SDG agenda.

Focused discussion with LGU offices

The second day of the activity involved a focused session with Mayor Dumlao and city department heads where they reiterated the city’s commitment to the SDG framework and process, stressing the need for budgetary planning that reflects developmental impacts.

Surigao City Mayor Pablo Yves Dumlao II emphasized the importance of aligning local initiatives with the SDGs to ensure evidence-based and data-driven policymaking and decision-making. The recently-completed Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) survey provides a timely opportunity to update the city development baselines and targets as it aligns its development strategies with global standards while embracing a participatory approach that involves different sectors of the community.

The next steps include the formalization of a Technical Working Group and the designation of the SDG focal point for the city.

The city aims to finalize its VLR in preparation for the Mayor’s State of the City Address in July 2024, setting a timeline that underscores the urgency and importance of these efforts.


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