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Will post-2015 development agenda integrate economic, environmental and social pillars?

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/>Bobby Ramakant, Citizen News Service (CNS)

(CNS): Key consultative processes have been going on globally to gather the broadest voices with the intent to effectively shape the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. In the Asia Pacific region there is a considerable effort put in to engage different communities and sectors in these consultations. Representatives of 17 constituencies are in Thailand to take this dialogue further ahead and consolidate peoples' agenda for development justice before the regional intergovernmental meeting (Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development - APFSD) opens later this week.

Let us hope government delegates will listen to peoples' voices from the frontlines of development struggles. The 17 constituencies mentioned above, include: women, farmers, fisherfolks, small and middle enterprises, indigenous peoples, NGO, science and technology, older group, people with disabilities, people living with HIV, migrants, trade union and workers, local authorities, youth, children and adolescents, urban poor, LGBTIQ, and people displaced by conflict, disasters and climate change) and five sub-regions (South-East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, East Asia and the Pacific), shared Wardarina of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).

"We have to consolidate our civil society input for the regional APFSD as well as for other processes which will be taking place at the global level" said Wardarina. She hoped that post-2015 sustainable development agenda will deliver development justice for all: development justice framework includes social and gender justice, environmental justice, accountability to peoples, redistributive justice and economic justice.

Connecting the dots

There was a compelling thrust to ensure '3 pillars' of environment, economic and social aspects are all fully integrated while shaping post-2015 sustainable development framework. But may be, it is easier said than done!

Frances Quimpo from Center for Environmental Concerns in Philippines is also the focal point of Science and Technology constituency for RCEM (Asia Pacific Regional CSOs Engagement Mechanism). She shared with Citizen News Service (CNS): "Major challenge is integrating environment with other two pillars of sustainable development: social and economic! We cannot look at these three issues in silos."

But is economic 'pillar' overshadowing the other two social and environmental 'pillars'? Frances Quimpo said "Yes! Most of the times it is the economic pillar which takes the lead in terms of working, developing policies and planning. It would have been good if economic pillar was more concerned about addressing people's needs but what is happening is - economic pillar is mostly profit-driven and private corporations are dictating what economic policies governments should be following - that is where the problem lies! Once you have capitalists in the lead it already spells disaster for the environment -- because they do not see environment in an integrated manner. We need to recognize how environment should be nurtured, and how it really helps societies and affects people's lives. Some communities like indigenous peoples do not only look at environment as a source of food or other natural resources but to them environment is sacred. These are some things that are not really economically valued."

'Natural resources are raw materials for economic sector'

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