The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) urged regional agencies to strengthen their roles and ensure that programs and projects in their areas are not neglecting gender needs while working for the country’s development.
“As we all know, gender issues permeate all aspects of human interaction and development. Poverty, inequality, agriculture, industries, employment, finance, social services, governance, peace and security, environment and natural resources, even infrastructure development—all these interact with gender concerns. As long as gender inequities exist, Philippine development will never be truly inclusive,” said Arsenio Balisacan, Socioeconomic Planning secretary and NEDA director general.
Balisacan made the statement at the recently concluded 1st Regional Gender and Development Council (RGADC) Summit held in Quezon City on August 14.
In pursuing inclusive development, the government must ensure that all of its strategies, programs, projects and activities are responsive to gender needs, he said.
“This is why the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 Midterm Update incorporates gender concerns in several key areas. Gender-responsive strategies have been identified and are being implemented, particularly in the areas of social welfare, financial inclusion, access to justice, peace-building in conflict-affected areas, human trafficking, security sector reforms, and management of the environment and natural resources,” Balisacan said.
The NEDA chief noted that first, there is a need to facilitate the creation of equal growth opportunities across regions and localities, and address regional and local gender and development concerns.
Second, Balisacan said the government needs to ensure that gender and development (GAD) activities of various institutions are done collaboratively, instead of conflicting or overlapping.
The NEDA chief highlighted the crucial role that Regional Development Councils (RDCs) should play in providing an important forum to strengthen gender and development planning and policy-making, which includes reviewing and endorsing regional programs and projects that are gender-responsive.
At the same time, RDCs are important in accelerating the participation and equitable representation of women in society so that they can fully realize their role as agents and beneficiaries of development, he said.