Managing Research for Sustainable deva[euro][TM]t

Article excerpt

Byline: Dr. Florangel R Braid

AT the 73rd annual meeting of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) attended by about a thousand scientists representing natural, social, and human sciences, a gap in research and development was addressed a" interdisciplinary collaboration in population, energy, and environmental management.

Citing his country, Japan, as an example of a poor country after World War 2, but which was able to recover to become a progressive country because of science and technology, Embassy of Japan Minister Eiichi Oshima in his keynote speech emphasized that a country will not develop unless it gives priority to research and development.

In the panel on Research Collaboration for Sustainable Development, the three resource speakers noted a common weakness which is the sectoral and fragmented approach in the generation of new knowledge. These survival issues are not integrated with other development areas and financial resources are not adequate to meet rising energy costs as well as environmental and social costs, according to former Energy Secretary Francisco Viray. The latter further observed that the domestic energy sector is vulnerable to global and regional influences. Thus, energy security mandates energy savings a" policies and incentives in order to avoid dependence on imports. Dr. Zelda Zablan traced the history of population management from the Martial Law era by citing the evolution in the national strategy a" from fertility reduction to responsible parenthood, then to population management with focus on a more comprehensive agenda such as habitat, management of migration, empowerment of women and poverty reduction.

Today, the approach had shifted to reproductive health which is less controversial. Yet, there also has been little integration of population in the other development sectors. A perusal of 500 pages of our Development Plan shows almost no mention of population management. Now, that the development strategy is anchored on the global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with poverty eradication as the main goal, policy makers are now convinced that we should manage population growth, one of the eight MDG goals. But we have just began.

Dr. Milan underscored our "crisis" approach when she noted that this need to harmonize development efforts with sound environmental management resurfaces whenever human and environmental tragedy occurs such as what had happened recently in Saint Bernard. The recipe for sustainable development is to pursue economic growth hand in hand with economic development.

We have been talking about integration for the past decades. …