Talking points for social enterprises

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Friday, January 24, 2014


MY WORKDAYS in the past days were used for communicating with other members of the Mountain Partnership, especially in Central Asia and Southeast Asia.

We are cooking up an Asia-Pacific proposal, the one that will center on the development of social enterprises, including mountain-based livelihoods, that will play a big role in the world's shift toward the green economy as defined in Rio +20.

While still in its embryonic stage, the current buzzword in the sustainable development is to build and strengthen social enterprises (SE). And in this case, the Philippines has a good headstart on the global pack.

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Where before, these concerns are limited to civil society development platforms, these are spilling to pillars of power, no less than in the halls of our Congress.

I included two documents from the Philippines. One is Social Enterprises House Bill 6085 filed in the Philippine Congress for the promotion of the social enterprises as an example of compelling proposal to make it a State duty for basically creating policies for building a national green economy and prioritizing support for the poor.

To build social enterprises, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute in Columbia University qualified that the future we want must have four interdependent dimensions: inclusive social development; inclusive economic development; environmental sustainability; and peace and security.

New goals and targets need to be grounded in respect for universal human rights, and finish the job that the millennium development goals have started. Central to this is eradicating extreme poverty from the face of the earth by 2030.

Further, since the United Nations are debating on issues of social inclusion, country delegates basically talking of the rights-based approach to SMD, making it obligatory for the State as a duty holder to ensure with the promotion and support of social enterprises-mountains.

I provided my colleagues with reference materials that we can use to survey the literature for advocates of sustainable development for an understanding of the key challenges and pathways to sustainable development – that is, economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable in the mountain context of our region.

The references can be used for our theory and practice of sustainable mountain development within the framework of sustainable development goals (SDGs) currently being debated in the UN. I hope our best and good practices and lessons can enrich SDG-Mountains.

Can our provincial policy-makers in Negros Occidental come up with an SDG-M? Judging from its promotion of an organic food bowl, I certainly am confident our Provincial Board and Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. will embrace the concept. Ditto for some our municipal officials as the province has proved during the 2002 International Year of the Mountains expressing its full support for SMD.*

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 24, 2014.

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