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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Philippine Delegate

General Debate of the Second Committee
59th United Nations General Assembly
New York, 5 October 2004

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the Philippine delegation, I wish to congratulate you and the members of your Bureau on your well-deserved election. The Philippines looks forward to working closely with you and with other delegations, as we discuss the issues and challenges before the Second Committee. I also wish to thank the Under Secretary-General of DESA, Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo, for a comprehensive overview of the global economic and development situation, which should guide our deliberations in the ensuing days.

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished representatives of Qatar, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and the statement by Indonesia, on behalf of the ASEAN.

Mr. Chairman,

At the General Assembly last week, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, H. E. Dr. Alberto G. Romulo, called on the international community to put people at the heart of the United Nations. Since the UN is a creation of the peoples of the world, he deems it appropriate that we put emphasis on the welfare and the well being of the people by placing them at the core of any development agenda at the global level. We can achieve this by highlighting the need to protect their lives, the importance of ensuring their livelihood to safeguard their economic security, and promoting their dignity.

Mr. Chairman,

Indeed, generating employment and providing livelihood for the people contribute to the overall attainment of economic security. The Philippines believes that this is one of the ways to stimulate the global economy, as well as address the problem of halving poverty and hunger by 2015, as enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In the Philippines, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has embodied economic security in her 10-point program of action for 2004-2010. The program calls for the creation of six million jobs in six years by giving more opportunities to entrepreneurs, tripling the amount of loans to small and medium enterprises, and the development of one to two million hectares of land for agricultural business, among other strategies.

It goes without saying, Mr. Chairman, that at the regional and international levels, there is also a need to foster the promotion of livelihood and economic security, if we are to sustain global economic growth and development. We can accomplish this, by ensuring that the international norms, standards, and procedures that we adopt in this Assembly are consistent with these goals and objectives. The global actions, mechanisms and partnerships that we would forge as a result of our deliberations, should be consistent with the promotion of human security and the alleviation of the conditions of the poor and hungry.

The General Assembly, for instance, should look more closely at concrete, do-able and innovative tools that will help spur economic growth in developing countries. For a start, we should implement the initiatives and commitments made in the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development, the JPOI on World Summit on Sustainable Development, and other meetings and conferences of recent years. More importantly, we need to follow-up on the commitments on economic and development measures, especially on leveling the economic playing field; addressing the ODA; tackling the debt problem; and mobilizing resources for development.

Mr. Chairman,

Economic security prospers in an atmosphere of level playing field for both developed and developing countries. In both regional and international settings, leveling the economic playing field ensures that the fruits of globalization would benefit the people in terms of better opportunities, more jobs and improved livelihood.

International trade, investment and development for instance, are crucial tools toward raising the people’s standard of living. However, despite the call for an open, rule-based, and transparent multilateral trading system, the reality faced by the poor countries is the persistent barrier against products from the developing world.

We should push for a Doha Round that is truly a Development Round. We must embrace an approach to development that takes into account the needs and priorities of developing countries. This can only happen if developing countries enjoy adequate policy space to better apply appropriate policy instruments in areas such as trade, investment, technology, and in other specific economic sectors. The Philippines remains committed to a rules-based system and looks forward to the operationalization of policy space within the framework of international rules and agreements.

Mr. Chairman,

There is also a need for developed countries to implement their commitments to allocate 0.7 percent of their GNP for Official Development Assistance. Only five developed countries, so far, have met this commitment last year. Again, ODA, whether dispensed bilaterally or multilaterally, either through governments on non-governmental institutions, is an instrument to help people help themselves – a social responsibility more pronounced now in an era of increasing globalization.

Mr. Chairman,

Creative ways to solve the lingering debt issue of the developing world should also be addressed in order to ease the burden of debt servicing and channel those meager resources instead, to more productive means.

We should also encourage relevant multilateral bodies to coordinate with regional financing institutions to devise modalities for the implementation of debt swap for poverty programmes covering not just those countries qualifying under the highly indebted poorest countries (HIPC) initiative. The debt swap for poverty programme was one of the recommendations made by the Philippines at the High-level General Assembly Dialogue on Financing for Development in October 2003. Under this scheme, highly indebted countries will be forgiven their debts provided the resulting savings are entirely and exclusively channeled to anti-poverty programs including investments in education and health.

Mr. Chairman,

There is also a need to look into creative and innovative ways of mobilizing resources for development. We can benefit from Brazil's initiative on the New York Plan of Action on Hunger and Poverty, which the Philippines had supported. We can also learn from the recommendations of the Technical Group on the various innovative mechanisms for financing resources.

Greater attention should be focused on how micro-credit or micro-finance could serve as an instrument to alleviating the conditions of the poorest of the poor. The Philippines has made great stride on this area, and we stand ready to share our experiences on this field. Regional financing institutions should also provide more support for the development of micro-, small- and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs).

Moreover, wise mobilization of domestic resources, like remittances for development - an offshoot of migration and the global phenomenon of globalization, should also be carefully studied. Remittances by migrants, much greater than the total amount of ODA, help alleviate poverty of the family members remaining in the country of origin.

Migration is an important issue for the Philippines. We therefore welcome the General Assembly's decision to convene a high level dialogue on international migration and development in 2006, and welcomes Peru's initiative to host a special international conference in 2005.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines believes that addressing these major areas of concern would allow us to create an environment that would be conducive to providing livelihood and promoting economic security of the human persons. The Second Committee should seize this opportunity, under your leadership, Mr. Chairman, to undertake concrete ways to realize these measures in order to hasten the process of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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