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Zero Poverty 2020



In the Philippines, the sectors of social welfare and health have been fully devolved to local governments since 1992. In 1999, the Municipality of Concepcion, in Iloilo, adopted a vision of eliminating poverty completely by the year 2020 and forged, accordingly, multi-sectorial programmes and related actions where the cross-cutting themes were population, health, and environment. However, the first step in this direction was to renovate the government machinery from inside, reinforcing the commitment of the executive personnel to become promptly responsive to local inhabitants’ needs.

  1. The first initiative, “Zero Poverty 2020”, comprises several development programs addressing livelihood assistance, agrarian reform community development, youth-children development, health services, coastal resource management, agricultural production enhancement, and direct community action.
  2. The second initiative, “Harnessing Synergy in Integrated Population, Health and Environment (PHE) programming”, focuses on family planning tools and the preservation of mangrove areas and fishing grounds to counterbalance the degradation of the coastal environment and the dramatic health conditions of its population.


The overall beneficiaries of the programmes comprise about 60% of the total population of the city of Concepcion.


The combined effects of the actions contained in the programmes resulted in the halving of poverty from 87% of the population in 2000 to 47% in 2004. The initiatives sought to arrest dramatic health problems as well as environmental degradation, with a range of positive results:

  • Population growth was controlled,
  • The environment was given more time to catch-up and restore an ecological balance,
  • The nutrition status of children was improved,
  • Well-managed coastal resources contributed to greater food security,
  • Better overall population health was observed,
  • Family incomes increased, and communities became more empowered 

Challenges and risks:

The main challenges and risks for this particular case are found in the high dependency of local government budgets on their Internal Revenue Allotment; the recent fiscal crisis in the national government as it affects local economic development initiatives; a lack of technical capability to implement and sustain the initiatives; weak enforcement of local government poverty reduction-related plans and policies; poor monitoring and evaluation of poverty reduction-related programs and projects; and changes in leadership that may affect the program’s sustainability.