Written by Marikris de Guzman and Jose Mateo dela Cruz, MY World 2030 Advocates in the Philippines
In a world where selfies and the need to post on social media all the events that are happening real-time are the norms, how do we make people understand that what is important is not actually seen online? The advocacy for sustainable development boils down to people.
One former Philippine president said to her successor then – It’s the economy, student! But what is the economy if it does not serve the people. We believe that the same is true for the global goals – the centrality of the goals boils down to the development of the people’s lives and their quality of living.
A crucial component of the programme is the ASEAN MY World 2030 survey, which was launched by the 10 Ministers of Foreign Affairs of ASEAN and UNDP Administrator at the opening of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September 2017. Through an online form, anyone can answer the survey and make their voice heard by the policymakers. An alternative to answering the online form is through a printed survey form. In addition to promoting the survey, advocates also conduct activities in their locality to promote awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and feature advocates to demonstrate their local actions.
To bring forth localization, we need to focus not just on theories but on the lived experiences of people. This is where MYWorld becomes relevant – the survey and the Humans of MYWorld features are attempting to get a glimpse of the realities of people and try to measure if the aspirations of the new development agenda have borne significant changes for their lives or not.
As part of our strategy to increase awareness of SDGs in the grassroots level, we have conducted the survey in provincial areas using printed forms to give more space for participation to people who are not easily connected to the internet in the north and south of the Philippines. We did this through tapping local networks from our social capital and mobilizing them to support the conduct of the survey.
For us advocates, we wanted to go beyond promoting the global goals online. We hope to help in generating discussions and developing solutions within our communities. We believe that the people need to be enlightened regarding the SDGs than to merely contemplate about these and appreciate the Global Goals through social media sharing or even posting the goals that mean strongly for you. We knew that what we were doing has inherent limitations. The awareness survey is just the first step in promoting the implementation of the goals. People and institutions alike should be informed about the global goals first. With awareness, we hope that this can spark actions from institutions and communities to build collaboration and partnerships toward localizing and achieving the global goals at the grassroots level.
With this, the real power of MYWorld as a platform comes in – it is bringing back the discussion of these lofty and ideal goals to the people who demanded for sustainable development years ago. Features, campaign hypes, and communication strategies are being done to make people work for the goals but are we venerating the goals as an idea without understanding the real end game?
This year, we are privileged to be part of the ASEAN MY World 2030 Programme which aims to empower young changemakers in the ASEAN region to take upon a leadership role for both the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, led by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub and the UN Volunteers Asia-Pacific. Selected youth advocates from the region will lead and carry out a series of advocacy activities in order to raise awareness about both agendas and increase citizen engagement to inspire concrete actions on the ground.
The challenge here is how to create a society recognizing individual aspirations but collectively working for these shared goals. This means going beyond the comfort of the online space and going to the communities and people where development is greatly aspired for. The battle to make the goals a reality is still ongoing. It will not just end in an online campaign rather it will be a long march from one community to another to educate, advocate, and work together for the global goals. It is a battle for uplifting the lives of more than 7 billion people and preparing this generation and the next to create a sustainable future- a planet that each person can say: MYWorld – a world that we want!