(Image: Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon of NEDA addresses the UN from her home in the Philippines)
COUNTRY STATEMENT TO THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT OF ECOSOC
Theme: “Multilateralism after COVID-19: What kind of UN do we need at the 75th anniversary”
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, good morning.
Philippines congratulates the United Nations, and all of us, for 75 years of partnership for change, for a better world. In particular, we appreciate how the UN has shepherded us towards the MDGs, placing people at the center of the development agenda and then, the SDGs, emphasizing the interrelationship between and among people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.
Our recent experience has proven that, indeed, we live in a VUCA world –volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. We need to be more adept in confronting shocks – health risks, climate and human-induced harzards and even combined occurrence of these risks, even as remain committed to attaining the SDGs.
As in most countries, we have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. Because we were unprepared for this pandemic, a lockdown was imposed to buy time to improve our health systems and to save lives. This has dampened consumption and production, induced job losses and business closures, and disrupted face-to-face schooling. Indeed, in many developing countries, and definitely in LDCs, physical distancing equals economic inactivity.
In this global pandemic, the 2030 Agenda is even more relevant, especially as it espouses partnership: international cooperation and multilateralism. At this time, the UN has very important roles to play, but we wish to highlight a couple:
- The UN needs to ensure that health goods, such as COVID-19 vaccine and public health research remain public goods. We strongly support equitable access to the vaccine, once available. Concerns on intellectual property and patent for the vaccine have to give way to the need for affordability and accessibility. We need the convening power of the UN to forge partnerships and agreements to strengthen our collective negotiating power, in the interest of public health.
- The UN needs to facilitate technology transfer and narrow the digital divide among countries by encouraging states to work together. Various international cooperation modalities are needed to help countries achieve their development objectives, even under the new normal.
At this time, we are again reminded of the universality of SDGs – specifically, we need the whole-of-society, the whole-of-government, multilateralism, international cooperation, and yes, the United Nations, to leave no one and no country behind.