The Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 (ZEP2030) Movement convened its 5th General Assembly (GA) on November 26, 2020, with the theme “Strengthening Local Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration Towards COVID-19 Recovery”. 186 participants from 102 organizations in different parts of the country joined the GA, the first to be held online. Dr. Celia Reyes of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) presented the poverty trends before COVID-19 and the ensuing impacts of the pandemic on the economy, employment, poverty, education, and health. To cope better with future shocks, she reiterated that improvements in the design and implementation of social safety nets have to be done as part of the building back better plan. The presentation was followed by reflections and insights from a panel of reactors representing various sectors: Austere Panadero of the Zuellig Family Foundation, Governor Arlene Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands, and Lito Tayag of Accenture, Inc. (Philippines).
A second panel discussion focused on the critical actions that make a difference in the COVID-19 response at the local level. Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco of Zamboanga City, the transit and treatment center of Region IX and BASULTA, talked about the measures they have taken in close collaboration with CSOs, the private sector, and other local stakeholders, and what else needs to be done. Mr. Bernardino Sayo of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) further highlighted resilient recovery as a collaborative objective.
The GA also featured a message from the United Nations Development Programme’s newly appointed Resident Representative to the Philippines, Dr. Selva Ramachandran, and a presentation by Francis Capistrano of UNDP Philippines’ Accelerator Lab on the results of the COVID PULSE PH survey in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.
In their welcome and closing remarks, ZEP2030 Lead Convenors Dr. Milton Amayun of the International Care Ministries Foundation and Br. Armin Luistro FSC, ZEP2030 Co-Chair, urged the participants to ensure hope among the poor, learn from the experiences of others, continue sharing information, resources and opportunities, and strengthen local convergences for more strategic and responsive actions.
The full video recording of the GA proceedings is available at the ZEP2030 Facebook page < https://www.facebook.com/ZeroExtremePoverty2030/ >.
[Article by Gina Estipona, AF Coordinator – ZEP2030]