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  UN Civil Society Assembly


The UN CSA/CSAC in the Philippines was established in November 2006 to serve as the regular consultative forum between the UN country team (UNCT) and civil society organizations (CSOs) on experiences and issues that impact both CSOs and UN programs in the country.

About UNCSA

UN Civil Society Assembly (UNCSA) and the Civil Society Advisory Committee (CSAC): 2009-11 (as of 29 June 2009)

A) Role of the Civil Society Advisory Committee (CSAC)

The 15-member CSAC is elected by the CSA for a term of two years (each member is allowed a maximum of two successive terms). The CSAC:

1)  Provides UNCT with strategic and substantive guidance on policies and programs to improve development effectiveness and enhance its relations with civil society in the Philippines through systematic policy dialogue and engagement to discuss issues that may impact on UN’s development effectiveness, civil society operations and implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and

2) Undertakes, with the UNCT, advocacy on identified cross-cutting development issues, and identify strategic issues that will accelerate the implementation of MDGs.


B) Role of Civil Society Advisory Assembly (CSA)

Originally, the larger group of CSA (now composed of 68 CSOs, including 42 national CSO networks and 7 regional CSO networks) [see Members] was meant only to elect the members of the CSAC, who would then continue to engage with the UN country team and their 5 thematic groups for the UNDAF implementation. In later discussions, however, it was agreed that, after electing the CSAC, the CSA shall continue to actively engage the UN as members of the thematic groups, and that the CSAC shall continue to be accountable to and not operate independently of the CSA.

 

C) CSA and CSAC Meetings


The CSA meets twice a year.

The CSAC shall also meet at least twice a year (in between the CSA meetings) and will meet at least once a year with the UN country team. The CSAC members were also requested to identify their regular and alternate representatives to avoid re-orientations for new faces every time meetings are held.

 

D) Structure of the CSA and the CSAC

The CSAC members elect from among themselves a CSAC co-convenor. The UNCT designates another co-convenor from the UN agencies. For 2009-11, the two (2) CSAC co-convenors are the United Nations Development Program (particularly UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer) and the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO).

The CSA has five thematic groups, following the 5 themes of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) – (a) Macro-economic Stability and Broad-based Development, (b) Basic Social Services, (c) Peace Building, Conflict Prevention and Human Rights, (d) Good Governance and (e) Environment.

Each of the thematic group has a convenor, who is a CSAC member. Membership in the thematic group (TG) is voluntary and a CSA member may be a member of one or more thematic group. It is however encouraged that an organization designate separate regular representatives to the different TGs of which it is a member.

 

E) Role of UNCT in the Plans of UNCSA Thematic Groups

The five UNCSA TGs discussed and formulated their priority plans for 2009-11 at the recent UNCSA meeting (May 12-13, 2009, Binangonan Rizal) and in subsequent discussions/meetings and e-mail exchanges.

In these plans (see Reports), the TGs in general request the following support from the UNCT

  • provide expert and technical support to the TGs, including sharing of UN information and studies;

  • convene/organize dialogues and conferences between the TGs/other CSOs and national/local government agencies; and

  • facilitate the linkage between the plans/activities of the UNCSA TGs with the on-going and planned programs/projects of the UNCT.


Members

Members of the UNCSA (Total = 68 as of 29 June 2008)

A) Multi-Sectoral National CSO Networks

  1. Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO)
  2. Civil Society Counterpart – Council for Sustainable Development (CSC-CSD)*
  3. Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
  4. NAPC (National Anti-Poverty Commission) Basic Sectors Forum
  5. Social Watch Philippines (SWP)
  6. Women’s Action Network for Development (WAND)


B) Sectoral/Thematic National CSO Networks

  1. Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)
  2. Association of Foundations (AF)
  3. CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Watch
  4. Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net)
  5. Consortium for the Advancement of People’s Participation in Sustainable Integrated Area Development (CAPP-SIAD)
  6. Consortium for Electoral Reform (CER)
  7. Fair Trade Alliance (FTA)
  8. Federation of Free Workers (FFW)*
  9. Generation Peace Network (GenPeace)
  10. Health Action Information Network (HAIN)
  11. Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (KASAPI)
  12. League of Corporate Foundations (LCF)
  13. Micro-Finance Council of the Philippines (MCP)
  14. National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO)
  15. National Council on Social Development (NCSD)
  16. NGOs for Fisheries Reform (NFR)
  17. Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
  18. Pambansang Koalisyon ng mga Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK)
  19. Partnership for Clean Air (PCA)
  20. Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA)
  21. PATAMABA
  22. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
  23. Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)
  24. Philippine NGO Support Program (PHANSUP) – HIV/AIDs, health education, etc
  25. Philippine Network of Rural Development Institutes, Inc. (PhilNet-RDI)*
  26. Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare (PNGOC)
  27. Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)
  28. Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
  29. PILIPINA
  30. Sulong CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law)
  31. Sustainability Watch*
  32. Task Force Participatory Local Governance (TF-PLG)
  33. Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)*
  34. Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN)
  35. Urban Poor Alliance (UP ALL)
  36. Young Public Servants (YPS)


C) Multi-Sectoral Regional CSO Networks

  1. Coalition for Bicol Development (CBD)
  2. Consortium of Bangsa Moro Civil Society Organizations (CBCS)
  3. Cordillera Network of Development NGOs and POs (CORDNET)
  4. Eastern Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (EVNET)
  5. Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE)
  6. Western Visayas Network of Social Development NGOs (WEVNET)


D) Sectoral/Thematic Regional CSO Networks

  1. Agri-Aqua Development Coalition (AADC) - Mindanao (farmers and fishers)


E) Policy Research and Advocacy and Other NGOs

  1. Action for Economic Reforms (AER)
  2. Association of Schools of Public Administration of the Philippines (ASPAP)
  3. Center for Community Transformation (CCT)*
  4. Civil Society Resource Institute (CSRI)
  5. Consuelo Foundation
  6. Culion Foundation
  7. Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP)
  8. Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI)
  9. Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE)
  10. Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute (GZO-PI)
  11. Haribon Foundation
  12. Human Development Network Foundation (HDN)*
  13. Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER)
  14. Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD)
  15. International Center on Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov)
  16. Miriam P.E.A.C.E.
  17. Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF)
  18. Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD)
  19. Visayan Forum Foundation

*Inactive Members (did not attend any of the 2 Assemblies in 2008 and did not respond to email invitations/ questions) = 6 organizations


II) Other Invited Organizations [Awaiting Reply/ Decision] (5)

  1. Alternative Law Groups (ALG)

  2. Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)
  3. Philippine Children’s Ministries Network
  4. Ecological Waste Coalition (EcoWaste)
  5. NGOs Opposed to GMOs (NO to GMOs)


Initial List of UNCSA Thematic Group Members

*TG convenors

A) TG on Macro-Economic Sustainability and Broad-based Development


1) AF

2) CODE-NGO

3) FDC*

4) FSSI

5) LCF

6) PEF

 

B) TG on Basic Social Services


1) Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net)

2) Eastern Visayas Network of POs and NGOs (EVNET)

3) Health Action Information Network (HAIN)

4) Philippine NGO Support Program (PHANSUP)

5) PLCPD

6) Social Watch Philippines (SWP)*

7) Urban Poor Alliance (UP ALL)

8) Visayan Forum Foundation

9) WAND


C) TG on Peace Building and Human Rights


1) CBCS

2) GenPeace

3) GZO-PI

4) INCITEGOV

5) MINCODE

6) *

7) Sulong CARHRIHL

D) TG on Good Governance


1) AADC

2) ASPAP

3) CODE-NGO

4) NAPC-BSF

5) PAKISAMA

6) PILIPINA

7) TAN

8) WAND

9) WEVNET*


E) TG on Environment


1) CORDNET

2) FPE*

3) HARIBON

4) PRRM

5) YPS


Updates

UNCSAC and UNCT define priorities for 2010

United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRC) Jacqui Badcock, UN Development Program (UNDP) Country Director Renaud Meyer and other members of the UN Country Team (UNCT) met with members of the UN Civil Society Advisory Committee (CSAC) last February 16, 2010 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City.  

In her first meeting with the whole CSAC, Ms. Badcock, who had been appointed UNRC in September 2009, said that she looks forward to working in partnership with civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Philippines and that it is only in the Philippines that she has seen an organized and active CSAC and a Civil Society Advisory Assembly (CSA) composed of 68 CSOs and CSO networks.

At that meeting the UNCT and the CSAC agreed on four priority joint activities for 2010, namely:

1) UN-GO-CSO Conference on the new MTPDP with the new Administration

This would be held soon after the new Administration starts its term in July 2010.  The five CSA Thematic Groups (good governance, environment, basic social services, peace and human rights and macro-economic stability and equitable development) will bring in their agendas here, but they will also advocate that the Medium Term Philippine Development Plans (MTPDP) for 2011-2016 should be focused on attaining the MDGs by 2015.  This conference would highlight the MDGs and the partnership of government and civil society in attaining the MDGs.  

 

UN Civil Society Assembly (UNCSA) Plans for 2009-11

Members of the UN Civil Society Assembly (UNCSA) met last May 12-13, 2009 in Binangonan, Rizal to identify the priority issues and draft the plans of the UNCSA for the next two years. They were joined by representatives of the UN agencies in the Philippines headed by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Country Director Renaud Meyer.

The UNCSA and the UN Civil Society Advisory Committee (CSAC) in the Philippines were established in November 2006 to serve as the regular consultative forum between the UN country team (UNCT) and civil society organizations (CSOs) on experiences and issues that impact both CSOs and UN programs in the country.

The UNCSA is now composed of 68 CSOs and networks, including 42 national CSO networks and 7 regional CSO networks.

The 15 members of the CSAC were also elected by the UNCSA for a term of two years (each member is allowed a maximum of two successive terms).

The CSAC members elect from among themselves a CSAC co-convenor. The UNCT designates another co-convenor from the UN agencies. For 2009-11, the two (2) CSAC co-convenors are the United Nations Development Program and the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO).

The UNCSA has five thematic groups, following the 5 themes of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) – (a) Macro-economic Stability and Broad-based Development, (b) Basic Social Services, (c) Peace Building, Conflict Prevention and Human Rights, (d) Good Governance and (e) Environment. Each of the thematic group has a convenor, who is a CSAC member. Membership in the thematic group (TG) is voluntary and a CSA member may be a member of one or more thematic group.

The TG Convenors are: Freedom from Debt Coalition (Macro-Economic), Social Watch Philippines (Social Services), Foundation for the Philippine Environment (Environment), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (Peace Building and Human Rights) and Western Visayas Network of Social Development NGOs and POs (Good Governance).

The other elected UNCSAC members are Association of Foundations (AF), Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (CBCS), Cordillera Network of NGOs and POs (CORDNET), Eastern Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (EVNET), International Center for Integrity, Transparency and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov), Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), Women's Action Network for Development (WAND).


Reports


Thematic Groups – Priority Plans

These are the highlights of the plans of the 5 UNCSA TGs (The list of initial UNCSA TG members are in Annex 2) -


1) Thematic Group on Macro-economic Stability and Broad-based Development

The TG's planned civil society action (in partnership with the UNCT) seeks to gain the following:

  1. A comprehensive consolidation of data and assessment of the impacts of the global economic crisis to the Philippines, in particular to vulnerable sectors, and the corresponding response of government;
  2. Formation of advocates among CSOs that will monitor continuing impacts of the crisis on the ground and the governments action and responses, as a process of exacting transparency and accountability;
  3. A proposed platform or road map for long-term and strategic solutions to bring out the Philippines out of crisis.

Plan of Action:

a) “Crisis Mapping” – this initiative intends to consolidate data and information of the following: (i) assessment on the extent of impacts of the crisis; who are most affected; (ii) initiatives by the business and vulnerable sectors to mitigate the impacts; (iii) response of government to the crisis and how it is implemented.


b) “Crisis Watch” --- this initiative intends to gather CSO advocates that will ensure monitoring of the continuing impacts on the ground and governments response and action. While the members of this thematic group will initially anchor the initiative, it will be opened up with other UNCSA members for them to get involved.

     A dedicated space/platform (website) will have to be set-up to facilitate exchange of information and discourse related to the crisis watch. /dialogue with relevant government agencies on the economic crisis will be undertaken, particularly on plans on how to get out the country in crisis. The UNCT may be engaged as convenor, to facilitate engagement/dialogue between CSOs and government agencies and/or with official representative to global conferences, as avenues for policy or program reforms.

c) Developing alternatives or road map – the idea is to create an alternative framework that will contain principles of social justice and equity, participatory governance, and environmental sustainability that will be the foundations for socio-economic policies for development. This initiative will have two main objectives:


  • Create an alternative development framework that brings together, but goes beyond, the interests of the different sectors;
  • Reinvent social and political structures in the Philippines by gathering a constituency for the platform to push for the alternative development framework

d) Constituency Building and Discourse Generation

Through the “Crisis Watch”, a campaign will be launched to present the alternative framework and generate discourse to build-up ownership and consensus on the proposed roadmap. In the process, it is expected that the constituency building will make the general public claim their stake in national economic development, in particular the vulnerable sectors.

As the alternative framework is aimed as input to the on-going review of MTPDP and as platform for the 2010 elections, it is very important that a critical mass will be formed.

Specific activities under the first objective include, but are not limited to:

  • Publish and circulate the alternative framework/roadmap into popular form

National, regional and/or sectoral forums or round-table discussions to generate active discourse on the proposal as a common and binding platform

  •  Briefings with media and key legislators
    •  

Timeframe:

Given that one of the goals of this initiative is to present the proposed alternatives as a platform for the 2010 elections and as input to the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 2010-16, the initiative will be implemented for 11 months, beginning June 2009 until April 2010.


2) Thematic Group on Basic Social Services

The overall priority issue of the basic social services (BSS) is financing for the Millennium Development Goals particularly financing for:

  • Maternal mortality

  • AIDS prevention and treatment
  • Education
  • Housing for the urban poor

The group also agreed on the advocacy for universal health coverage, which addresses not only the financing of health services but also health services availability.

Objectives:

The BSS group plans for 2009-2011 will have the following objectives:

  • To develop basic social services (health and education) and housing for the urban poor assessment tools
  • To promote and advocate for the financing of the MDGs on health, education and housing
  • To identify MDG champions at the national level and in low performing regions and provinces
  • To explore and develop a concept of CSO managed funding facility for MDGs

Activities:

The plan of the basic social services thematic group will have three components.

The first component is the basic social services assessment, wherein the activities will include development of the assessment tool, identification of areas and partners, conduct of research and write-up of the assessment and organization of focus group discussion to validate the results of the assessment.

The second component is the advocacy for financing. The thematic group will conduct briefings/forum with the local and national officials, as well as election candidates, on the result of the assessment. The results of the assessment will be used to promote and advocate for more financing for health and education services at the local and national levels and housing for the urban poor (e.g. Mandatory Budget Allocation for Health at the local level to finance Essential Health Packages).

Considering that MDG 2 (participation rate and cohort survival rate) and maternal health are the most threatened goals, a forum with UNDP, World Bank, AusAid, DepEd, etc. will also be organized. The advocacy for financing will also be linked to international campaign such as the W8 campaign by Oxfam. W8 is eight women ambassadors, chosen around the world, who are campaigning and lobbying for quality and accessible basic social services, with international leaders and institutions.

The third component will be development of the concept of CSO funding facility for its advocacy and service activities related to MDGs. This will entail workshop discussion of the thematic group members to brainstorm on the concept, research and write-up, and consultation to present the draft concept.

 

3) Thematic Group on Peace Building and Human Rights

The objectives and planned activities of the Thematic Group are:

a) To build the constituency for a national policy on peace, human rights and security, help to lower the levels of political violence (EJKs, election violence, etc) and protect especially human rights defenders

  • Initiate and support a broad movement against political violence, promoting life- affirming norms and non-violent means of social and political change
  • Collaborative local training among UNCSA members on rights-based approaches at barangay levels, empowering the BHRACs
b) On the situation in Mindanao, help to ensure humanitarian protection of civilians and create conditions conducive to peace processes
  • Monitor and ensure response to the humanitarian situation in Mindanao;
  • Advocate for and support ceasefire between the GRP and MILF.

c) Ensure that peace dividends reach intended communities

  • Track and monitor development assistance related to the peace agreements such as the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement, and the interim agreements between the GRP and MILF (especially that of UN agencies funding and other major donors)
  • Presentation of assessment and recommendations to the major stakeholders and decision-makers.

d) Sustain and build the community of peace and human rights defenders

  • Initiate dialogue, reconciliation and healing among peace advocates (esp. on MOA-AD)


4) Thematic Group on Good Governance

The objectives of the TG are:

  1. To strengthen the interface between government, donors and CSOs by maximizing opportunities and expanding spaces for CSO participation in strategic development and governance bodies/mechanisms (e.g. Philippine Development Forum, localized UNCSA/CSAC, etc)
  2. To install transparency and accountability mechanisms in development programs and projects through full disclosure of national project/ budget details of projects funded by multilateral and bilateral organizations as well as localized tracking and monitoring LGU performance on MDGs
  3. To organize, empower and capacitate CSOs in tracking and monitoring programs and to popularize, disseminate and share tools/mechanisms for tracking and reportage
  4. To push government to enforce existing policies on peoples participation in the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and planning/budgeting processes (Local Development Councils, Local Special Bodies, etc).

Initial Plans:

  • Mapping of Pro-TAG Institutions – this initiative intends to consolidate data and information of the following: a) legislators and local chief executives (LCEs) who have institutionalized transparency and accountability; b) resource institutions (academe, business, church based, NGOs) that would complement good governance and anti-corruption initiatives; c) communities of good practices (using citizens' charter, integrity circles, community driven development with social accountability, public disclosures and citizen’s feedback, report card, etc)
  • MDG Monitoring - this initiative intends to gather CSO advocates that will ensure monitoring of what is happening on the ground and government's response and action. While the members of this thematic group will initially anchor the initiative, it will be opened up to other UNCSA members for them to get involved.
  • Spaces for Interfacing - e/dialogue with relevant government agencies and LGUs on Social Accountability and Public Ethics, particularly on plans on how to get the country out of the vicious circle of corruption.
  • Sharing and Developing Alternative Mechanisms/Tools – the idea is to maximize the existing frameworks and to develop alternative mechanisms that would promote equity in development, participatory governance, and environmental sustainability that will be the foundations for socio-economic policies for development.
  • Information Dissemination/Advocacy on the UN Conventions/Initiatives - (e.g. Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), full disclosure of information on the projects funded by the UN and other multilateral and bilateral agencies including projects at the regional level.

5) Thematic Group on Environment

Recent mining-related disasters point to the inability or unwillingness of government to enforce laws and protect the communities and the environment and bolster the belief that government and industry views on mining are one and the same.

With these in mind, the group agreed to maintain its focus on the issues related to mining. It decided to interweave the problem of climate change with mining, and propose a study on the impacts of mining on climate change in the Philippines. Another, just as critical, focus would be on on clean development mechanisms.

On Clean Development Mechanism

Climate change, specifically global warming, is the most serious threat to the continued existence of mankind on earth. While this phenomenon is naturally occurring, scientists have warned that man’s activities, especially dumping greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere, have contributed largely to that change. To reduce GHG emissions, the Kyoto Protocol has devised the “clean development mechanism,” wherein countries with emission-reduction commitments may implement emission-reduction projects in less-emitting countries and earn emission-reduction credits.

With its payments given to the less-emitting country or its communities, the CDM has been bruited about as a measure that could mitigate climate change globally while at the same time be a solution to the problem of poverty in low- and middle-income nations, in which the emission-reduction projects are expected to be implemented. But is it really?

The UNCSA Environment Cluster proposes to study the merit of CDM, its status in the Philippines and worldwide, and its impact on the recipient countries and communities. The study would also feature a research into locally based climate-change mitigation and adaptation techniques, including the “old-fashioned” measures, adopted at the community level, with and especially without the benefit of the CDM exchange.

On Climate Change and Mining

The World Resources Institute estimates that the mining and metals industry is responsible for approximately 21% of global GHG emissions from industry. in another study across sectors, including residential and land-use changes, the extractive industries – minerals, oil and gas – account for 15% of GHG emissions worldwide. Coal, in particular, is the “dirtiest fossil fuel,” according to NASA scientists James Hansen, and “air pollution, arsenic and mercury from coal cause devastating effects of human health and the unborn.”

There is a need for a study in the Philippine setting of the impact of mining, with particular emphasis on coal, on climate and people’s health. A study could investigate the number and location of operating metal, non-metal, especially coal, mines and/or plants, the volume of emissions from these mines and plants, the contribution of such mines and plants to climate change, and an identification of less polluting, more adaptable and affordable, healthier solutions to the energy problem.

 


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