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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Agenda Item 64 : Social development, including questions relating to the world social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
Third Committee, 4 October 2005
I take pleasure in congratulating you and the rest of the bureau on your election. I would like to assure you of my delegation’s support and cooperation in the fulfillment of the tasks of this Committee. I have no doubts that with your skills and experience, we shall be able to arrive at a successful discussion not only on this agenda item but also on the rest of the issues in our work program.
I also join others in expressing appreciation to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the follow-up to the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the Twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly focusing on the outcome of the deliberations held during the high-level segment of the Commission on Social Development at its 43rd session.
The Philippines associates itself with the statement made by the Ambassador of Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Clearly, the World Summit for Social Development in 1995 signified recognition by States of the importance of placing people at the center of development efforts. Since then it has been asserted time and time again since then that genuine development is a people-centered development. It is in this regard that the Philippines remains fully committed to attaining the goals of the World Summit for Social Development. We continue to pursue policies that are consistent and coherent with the overarching social development objectives of the United Nations as embodied in major documents like the Millennium Declaration and the outcome documents of the WSSD. My President’s ten-point development agenda for the next six years aims to fight poverty by building prosperity for the greater number of the Filipino people. My government is also intensifying its implementation of the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for the period 2004-2010 with more focused action strategies that include: the promotion of livelihood, strengthening of education, attainment of fiscal stability, decentralized development, and arriving at sustained national harmony. This plan provides the country’s blueprint for sustainable socio-economic development, and embodies the anti-poverty and over-all framework to maintain the country’s development goals.
Although we have accomplished many significant achievements, challenges still exist, and much more needs to be done. There is urgent need to support efforts in building an enabling environment for social development so as to achieve the three core priorities of the Copenhagen agenda. We acknowledge the need to embed social policy within economic policy as a way of fostering overall development. In this regard, we join others in reiterating the call to the relevant actors to ensure that macroeconomic strategies effectively respond to the social dimensions of development.
We can only ensure success of our social development goals if there are adequate financial resources to support it. Serious efforts must be made to effectively help countries achieve social development goals through the provision of both technical and financial resources. The importance of meeting ODA commitments of 0.7 % of GDP from developed countries is crucial in reducing poverty in developing countries. We appreciate and acknowledge developed partners who have honored their commitment and continue to encourage other partners to be true to this commitment.
The scarcity of resources needed to achieve our development goals is a challenge that we continue to face. We believe also that ODA alone cannot be the main source of funding for social development, hence, the need to pursue other ways of financing it. We recognize that we need to be more creative in mobilizing resources. The Philippines, therefore, would like to encourage developed partners and International Financial Institutions to seriously consider the Philippines’ proposal to convert 50 % of the debt owed by indebted countries to equity investments infused, inter alia, into social development programs. This “Debt for Equity in MDG Projects,” an idea put forward by the Philippines during the recent High-Level Meeting, propose to convert at least 50% of an agreed-on portion of the debt-service payments into investments in recipient countries in the form of equities, or other kinds of financial assets which would be channeled toward MDG programs such as reforestation, mass housing, safe water systems, hospitals, infrastructure or micro financing. Through this scheme, not only will the creation of and support to social program be direct, but equally important it will help to eliminate the debilitating debt burden. Thus, more resources at the national level could be freed up for the funding of social programs. We hope that this plan will gain widespread support to hasten and realize our targets in achieving the goals of the Millennium Declaration, primarily in halving the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015.
The Philippine government continues to pursue policies
to achieve a “society for all.”
The increasing movement of peoples across borders, signals the need for effective international cooperation to manage this aspect of globalization. There should be a recognition and a broader understanding of the linkages of globalization, development, and migration, including the human rights of migrants, as it relates to their heightened tendency to be exposed to many risks such as racism, physical and sexual abuse and inequitable treatment in a foreign country. Measures to ensure the promotion and protection of the human dignity of migrant workers must be therefore observed. The Philippines believes that this global phenomenon requires greater attention.
In this regard, I take this opportunity to briefly comment on an idea contained in the executive summary of the 2005 Report on the World Social Situation, which relates to migration and inequality. The report mentioned, “High migration streams engender and exacerbate inequalities.”
Mr. Chairman, while poverty and economic factors remain a major driving force of global migration, my delegation believes that utmost caution should be exercised in claiming any causal relationship between migration and inequality, that is, specifically, to assert that migration per se causes inequality. The same report indicates a positive statistical correlation between migrants’ remittances and poverty reduction, stating further that “on average, a 10 percent increase in the share of international remittances in a country’s GDP will lead to a 1.6 percent decline in the share of people living in poverty.” This underscores the importance of the contribution of migration to addressing the situation of inequality, especially in developing countries.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
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