PH halfway through in achieving SDGs as 2030 deadline looms | Inquirer News

PH halfway through in achieving SDGs as 2030 deadline looms

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @inquirerdotnet
/ 06:22 PM January 03, 2023


MANILA, Philippines—As 2023 marks the halfway point in implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), data showed the Philippines remained midway through achieving 17 of such objectives.

In 2015, United Nations (UN) member states, including the Philippines, adopted the SDGs as a universal goal to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 everyone would live in peace and prosperity.


At least 193 countries have committed to prioritizing the progress of 17 SDGs—consisting of 169 targets and 232 unique indicators that cover economic, social and environmental dimensions of development—which are expected to be used to frame country agendas and policies until 2030.

Halfway through the implementation of SDGs, data showed that the Philippines still has a long way to go before it fully accomplishes the comprehensive set of goals and “leave no one behind”—the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.


At a glance

Global rankings from the latest Sustainable Development Report showed that the Philippines ranked 95th out of 163 countries, with an overall score of 66.64 out of 100.

According to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the country’s overall score measures its total progress toward achieving all 17 SDGs.

A score of 100 indicates that all SDGs have been achieved.

The Philippines’ current overall score was higher than those recorded in 2021 (66.52) and 2020 (66.09), while it was a few points lower than the pre-COVID pandemic score of 66.66.



Last year during the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo noted that the Philippines’ progress in achieving the SDGs was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manalo, who presented the country’s third Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reported at the UN headquarters in New York that “while progress on most of the goals was sustained, some were reversed.”

“Reversal effects were experienced in goal 4 (quality education), with an increase of about 2 percentage points on the average dropout rate among elementary and high school students. Progress was sustained in goals 5 (gender equality), 14 (life below water), and 15 (life on land),” he explained, underscoring the country’s commitment to implement the SDGs as a “top priority.”


PH progress in implementation of SDGs

Out of the 17 SDGs, the Philippines was able to achieve only one so far: SDG 12, which is to ensure sustainable consumption and production pattern and which promotes resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs, and a better quality of life for all.

The UN SDSN said the country is on track or is currently maintaining SDG achievement, which covered efforts in reducing solid and electronic waste and minimizing sulfur dioxide (SO₂ ) and nitrogen emissions.

For SDG 4 (quality education) and SDG 13 (climate action), data showed that although the Philippines was already on track or maintaining SDG achievement, challenges remain, specifically in the following indicators:

  • SDG 4 indicator: Participation rate in pre-preliminary organized learning
  • SDG 4 indicator: Net primary enrollment rate
  • SDG 4 indicator: Lower secondary completion rate
  • SDG 13 indicator: Carbon dioxide CO₂ emissions embodied in fossil fuel exports

The country is also facing significant challenges in some other SDGs, such as:

  • SDG 1: No poverty
  • SDG 5: Gender equality
  • SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
  • SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy
  • SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • SDG 17: Partnership for the goals

The Philippines faces major challenges in achieving eight significant SDGs:

  • SDG 2: Zero hunger
  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 14: Life below water
  • SDG 15: Life on land
  • SDG 16: Peace, justice, and strong institutions

Positive influence

Aside from their overall score and ranking, UN member states are also ranked by their spillover scores.

“Countries are ranked by their spillover score. Each country’s actions can have positive or negative effects on other countries’ abilities to achieve the SDGs,” the UN SDSN explained.

“The Spillover Index assesses such spillovers along three dimensions: environmental & social impacts embodied into trade, economy & finance, and security,” it added.

A higher score indicates that a country causes more positive than negative spillover effects.



The Philippines ranked 55th out of 163 with a spillover score of 97.21. The UN SDSN noted that the country had achieved several SDG indicators under the three dimensions of development (environmental and social impacts embodied into trade, economy and finance, and security).

Policy efforts

The UN SDSN also monitored public statements by governments and efforts made by governments to integrate SDGs into public policies.

“Since 2018, this information has been collected through the SDSN survey on national coordination and implementation mechanisms at the central/federal level of government.”

The 2022 results for the Philippines showed that while the government was able to complete its VNR and has designated a unit for the coordination and implementation of the SDGs, there has been no official public statement by the government endorsing the implementation of the SDGs.

Although the Philippine government was able to integrate the SDGs into sectoral action plans or an overarching strategy, the UN SDSN found that the SDGs were not mentioned in the country’s latest central budget document at that time.

Key moments in 2023

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) believes that this year “offers an opportunity to accelerate action to deliver progress for people and [the] planet” despite the COVID-19 and other global crises that have caused setbacks in the past years.

The UNDP listed some key moments for sustainable developments to look out for this year, which include:

  • 8th biennial High-level Meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum in March
  • UN 2023 Water Conference in March
  • 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) in March
  • Global Space Conference on Climate Change in May
  • High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July
  • SDG Summit in September
  • 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in November
  • 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence in November

“Just seven years away from the end date of the 2030 agenda, it’s tempting to see the SDG glass as half empty. Crises such as COVID-19 have posed new challenges to development cooperation and, at the same time, have exacerbated existing trends like growing inequalities,” the UNDP said.

“But the SDGs remain our best chance to spread prosperity, security and human rights to all corners of the world. And 2023 brings the possibility to reset and recommit to this transformative agenda for humanity,” it added.



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