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08 APRIL 2008
RP REITERATES DEBT-FOR-EQUITY PLAN TO FUND MDG PROJECTS
NEW YORK—The Philippines is urging the United Nations to seriously consider its proposal for debt-for-equity arrangements to fund development programs, saying this will help developing countries meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) without increasing their debts.
Ambassador Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative, reiterated the Philippine proposal during Thematic Debate of the UN General Assembly on the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals entitled "Recognizing the Achievements, Addressing the Challenges, and Getting Back on Track to Achieve the MDGs in 2015."
The MDGs—a set of eight targets ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education—form a blueprint agreed to by all of UN member-states and all the world's leading development institutions that seek to meet the needs of the world's poorest by 2015.
"The Philippines hereby reiterates, now in a louder voice and utmost seriousness, with a higher note of urgency, its call to the United Nations to consider the proposal for wider Debt–for-Equity arrangements to fund MDG-related programs and projects," Ambassador Davide said in his statement of 2 April 2008.
The Philippines's Debt for Equity in MDG Projects proposal involves the conversion of 50 percent of the debt owed by the 100 highly indebted countries to equity investments in the MDGs. Under the Philippine proposal, the participation by creditors in the program will be voluntary and they are given the option to choose which MDG projects to support in a specific debtor-country.
The Philippines, which is the main proponent of the Debt for Equity in MDG Projects proposal, first introduced the concept during the 61st Session of the General Assembly where it successfully inserted a provision on this idea in the resolution on External Debt Crisis and Development. The Philippine proposal was again included in the same resolution during the 62nd Session of the General Assembly.
"The Philippines calls on the UN to spearhead an international campaign to change the concept of debt sustainability from "capacity to pay" to "level of debt" that allows developing countries, like the Philippines, to achieve the MDGs without increasing debt, and where financing the MDGs is not obstructed or hampered by debt service burdens," Ambassador Davide said.
In his statement, Ambassador Davide also urged the world body to make social inclusion as one of the guiding principles of the MDGs. He said that while the Millennium Declaration upholds the rights of children, women, migrants, migrant workers and their families, vulnerable sectors of society such as indigenous peoples and conflict affected communities and persons with disabilities have yet to be taken on board.
He cited studies that show that because of historical, political, cultural, economic and geophysical factors, indigenous peoples and those in conflict-stricken areas have very low access to services and opportunities that could address their basic needs.
"There is also a need to push for more opportunities for inclusive growth that ensures to the maximum extent possible, that the opportunities thus created be made available to more people, particularly the poor, the vulnerable and the underprivileged, since growth is consistent with and supportive of the MDGs.
Ambassador Davide also called on UN member-states to adopt a common tracking methodology to assess their performance vis-à-vis the MDG targets to help countries compare how they are doing with their neighbors and the rest of the world.
"Reforms in the UN, innovative solutions, bold strategies and collective efforts and actions are unavoidable and compelling to make the MDGs a reality for all," Ambassador Davide said. "To achieve the MDGs, our commitment must be firm and uniyielding, our pursuit must be relentless. There is no room for complacency. We should not rest nor tire nor weaken." ###
ELMER G. CATO Second Secretary & Press Officer Philippine Mission to the United Nations 556 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor New York, New York 10036 Tel. No. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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