Program on Alternative Development

Convenor: Eduardo C. Tadem, Ph.D.
Co-Convenor: Karl Arvin F. Hapal

Rationale and Objectives

The Program aims to look at paradigms, policies, practices, and projects that are largely marginalized and excluded from the mainstream. As they challenge dominant modes, they do not figure prominently in national and international discourse. They also do not get support and encouragement that mainstream practices benefit from.

UPAD aims to bring these alternatives out of the margins and into the mainstream and level the playing field so that they may be regarded on an equal footing with dominant discourses and thus offer alternatives to the existing system.

Three projects are under UPAD:

1. Project on Alternative Practices in Southeast Asia

The perceived failure of mainstream and dominant development paradigms to meaningfully address the issues and concerns of Southeast Asian peoples is viewed by civil society organizations and social movements as rooted in a market-centered and state-supported process. These have only further widened the gap between rich and poor within and among countries and caused unparalleled debasement of the environment.

This situation brings up the need to search for an alternative model of development, in general, and in particular, a regional integration that challenges the dominant paradigm – one that is based on what Southeast Asian peoples are already doing on the ground and is guided by cooperation, solidarity, mutual benefit, the commons principle, and joint development, not cutthroat competition, the insatiable thirst for profits, and narrow patriotism and chauvinism.

The Project on Alternative Practices in Southeast Asia aims to initially document alternative practices by grassroots peoples and communities and link these across the region to form the building blocks of a people’s alternative regional integration. This will be conducted in partnership with the CSWCD Department of Community Development, the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (ACSC/APF), FDC, and the Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA).

2. UNESCO Project on Research and Evidence for Social Inclusion to Achieve Social Development Goals

UP CIDS is the lead implanting agency of a UNESCO project on transforming research into policy based on the principle of “social inclusion” as depicted in the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs). It is about inequalities, inclusive development, transparency, and leaving no one behind. The objective is to look at research studies on best (and not so best) practices on social inclusion in the Philippines and what evidence is needed for a practice to be considered as implementing social inclusion. The Program on Alternative Development has the task of managing this project.

3. Project on Transformative Social Protection

This project will host the activities of two sister organizations, the Network for Transformative Social Protection (NTSP) and Buhay na May Dignidad para sa Lahat (DIGNIDAD).

The NTSP agenda also tackles structural causes of poverty and inequality and links up with struggles for tax and fiscal justice, trade and climate justice, and campaign against privatization of essential services.

DIGNIDAD is a Philippine national convergence of at least 32 people’s movements and formations – a coalition of coalitions – that united to pursue universal, comprehensive, and transformative social protection towards guaranteeing Filipinos a life of dignity.


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