THE Philippines underscored the importance of Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11) or the sustainable cities and communities to promote the rights of vulnerable groups pre-pandemic.
This was the statement of the Philippine Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Ambassador Belinda M. Ante, who moderated Session 1 of the AICHR Forum on SDG 11: Make Cities and Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient, and Sustainable in the Post- Pandemic.
She highlighted the role of SDG 11 in making cities resilient and inclusive of upholding the rights of vulnerable groups post COVID-19 pandemic fully.
“This can be done by improving urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways, ensuring that no one is left behind. As our region moves toward recovering and rebuilding, we hope we can use this session as a platform of opportunity to share practical ways, guided by the targets of the SDG 11,” emphasized Ante.
During the forum, she also stressed how people in vulnerable situations are exposed to further risks as the ongoing global health crisis further aggravates challenges such as unplanned urban sprawl and inadequate infrastructure.
As an example, she cited how those in informal settlements face difficulties adhering to health protocols, such as social distancing.
Participants and speakers of the session also highlighted the need to utilize a human rights-based approach, with special attention to vulnerable groups such as children, women, and persons with disabilities (PWDs), to make ASEAN cities inclusive and participatory.
The Forum, organized by AICHR Indonesia, serves as a platform for AICHR to discuss using the Sustainable Development Goal 11 framework to guide cities in the recovery phase from the pandemic.