Fashion protest on UnMET SDGs calls for development justice

March 30, 2023

The civil society network Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) held an UnMET Gala fashion protest to make urgent calls and demands at the conclusion of the 2023 Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (#APFSD2023).

UnMET GALA on unfulfilled effective development cooperation principles towards attainment of the SDGs.
CPDG holds UnMET GALA, a twist from the Met Gala held every year in May. The fashion pictorial featured bespoke clothing on the themes of SDGs, climate change, conflict and fragility, shrinking civic space, and private sector engagement. (Quezon City, 30 March 2023)
Photo by Archilles Parallon / CPDG

The fashion pictorial featured bespoke clothing on the themes of SDGs, climate change, conflict and fragility, shrinking civic space, and private sector engagement. Images and slogans such as “No to status quo,” “There is no Planet B,” “People over profit,” “Stop the Attacks” and “Aid for Just Peace” were embroidered, hand-painted, sublimated, or sewn on the upcycled clothing.

The clothes were made by the Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA), a progressive alliance of artists, writers, designers, and cultural workers striving towards genuine agrarian reform and food security, based in the Philippines.

The UnMET Gala is a twist to the popular Met Gala held each year in May. It was first paraded in Geneva by members of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) in 13 December 2022 for the High-Level Meeting (HLM3) on effective development cooperation. The UnMET Gala refers to unmet effective development cooperation commitments for achieving Agenda 2030 through the 17 SDGs.

“This fashion protest is civil society’s creative way to demand the Philippine government and donor countries to fulfill commitments on effective development cooperation principles in implementing government programs and projects funded with official development assistance (ODA) or by large private foreign or local corporations”, says Maria Jennifer Guste, CPDG National Coordinator.

The APFSD 2023 was held in Bangkok, Thailand from March 27 to 30, 2023. Civil society organizations (CSOs) under the Asia Pacific Region CSO Engagement Mechanism or APRCEM contributed their collective review of sustainable development goals (SDGs) implementation in the region in the parallel Asia Pacific People’s Forum on Sustainable Development (#PeoplesForum2023) themed “Change the System, Shift the Power: Challenging Imperialism and Corporate Capture of the COVID-19 Recovery and the 2030 Agenda”.

CPDG calls on the Philippine government and major development partners and actors including the UN system to look closer at the hard realities of the people and not just the figures in assessing the progress in the SDGs implementation. “As we approach the midpoint of the timeline for Agenda 2030, it is clear that OECD countries are not fulfilling their commitments to effective development cooperation especially in the amount of resources put into attaining the SDGs,” says Rochelle Porras, CPDG Vice President.

Donor countries only mobilized $185 billion in ODA or just 0.33% of their Gross National Income in 2021. On the other hand, global military expenditure exceeded $2 trillion in 2021 as countries grappled with the pandemic.

“We call on civil society to renew and strengthen our commitment to work in solidarity to advance development justice, to strengthen the interlinkages of people’s rights, development, and sustainability, and to demand accountability from governments and key institutions in realizing the SDGs in our respective countries and the entire region,” ends Porras.

Photo credits: Archilles Parallon / CPDG