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PIA Press Release

NEDA pioneers human rights-based dev't planning for RP

Davao City (18 February) -- The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) recently launched a project that hopes to make the Philippines one of the first countries and the first in Asia whose national development plan is primarily anchored on human rights.

The project aims to train NEDA technical staffs nationwide to adopt the human rights-based approach (HRBA) in crafting development plans, including the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) of the next administration.

"With this project, which by the way is the first of its kind in Asia, NEDA has set a new standard in development planning," NEDA Acting Director-General Augusto B. Santos said during its launch on February 10, 2010 at the NEDA Board Room.

The HRBA is a mainstreaming process that links human rights principles and standards to development. Through a holistic framework methodology, the HRBA recognizes the importance of people empowerment as a key in tackling poverty. It also brings in legal tools and institutions as a means to secure freedoms and achieve human development.

An orientation session on HRBA Applied Learning Workshops was recently held at Astoria Plaza, Pasig City. A series of workshops for NEDA central and regional technical staffs will be conducted from February 24 to April 23, also this year.

The two-month project, dubbed as "Mainstreaming the HRBA on Development Policies, Programs and Activities of NEDA," already produced a HRBA toolkit and workbook for planning.

It will also build capacities of NEDA staff and integrate HRBA instruments into development plans, programs and activities of the national government.

"We now envision the full integration of the human rights-based approach in the formulation of all development policies, plans and programs of the country. And we now expect that more vulnerable sectors of our society will be given equal opportunities for growth and development," Santos said.

He added that the project was initiated by NEDA not only in response to the President's directives, but also in recognition of the relationship between status of civil and political rights and socio-economic development.

NEDA hired the services of Maria Socorro Diokno, an international expert on human rights, to help implement the project. Diokno presented an overview of the HRBA in development planning during the kick-off activity. Also, she introduced and outlined the series of HRBA workshops during the orientation session.

"For this project and in compliance with our mandate, we have brought a NEDA inter-staff participation. I consider it very important since it is through your devoted and active participation that NEDA shall ensure that human rights principles, norms and standards shall be integrated, reflected and defined in the formulation of the country's development policies, plans and programs," Santos said to NEDA sector staffs.

In 2008, AO 249 mandated NEDA to ensure that the principles of the rights-based approach are integrated in the formulation of the country's development policies, plans and programs.

Previously, the President also issued AO 163 in 2006 that strengthened the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) and designated NEDA as the lead in coordinating compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

The ICESCR, which is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, is a treaty that commits governments to grant individuals rights to health, decent labor, quality education and adequate standard of living.

After the workshops, the NEDA will mainstream the HRBA in the formulation of MTPDP, investment plans and strategic planning matrices. NEDA also hopes that the said plans will be supported by the incoming NEDA Board, which will be composed of officials of the next administration. (NEDA) [top]

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