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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Mr. EDUARDO R. MEÑEZ
on Agenda Item 54: Sustainable Development
The Philippines wishes to thank Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram for delivering Under-Secretary General Sha Zukang’s statement yesterday. We seriously take heed of the Under Secretary General’s call to re-affirm commitment to the Commission on Sustainable Development and work toward consensus on policy options and practical measures for the benefit of our world and of future generations.
Our appreciation goes as well to our other speakers from the UN system for their informative presentations on this important issue. As an active member of G-77 and China, we also fully support the statement delivered by Pakistan on behalf of our group.
As many of you may be aware, the Philippines has for the past several years been following a clear sustainable development strategy in the form of a Philippine Agenda 21, which is in turn supported by a Business Agenda 21 that provides the private sector’s role in advancing this strategy. The government also formulated and is implementing a Medium Term Philippine Development Plan 2004 – 2010 that lists five major thematic thrusts under the general heading of ‘Environment and Natural Resources,’ as follows:
It is also important to note that aside from a clear consciousness in the national and local governments about the need for sustainable development as seen through these initiatives, Philippine civil society through numerous Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) is also a key player in sensitizing and educating the general population about the benefits of sustainable development.
Through the process that has just been described, the Philippines has brought together government, the private sector and civil society to work for the improvement of the environment without sacrificing the need to develop economically and likewise improve the lives of our people.
For example, in our efforts to help protect our 8.8 million hectares of untenured forestlands – government agencies, the military, locals government units, non-governmental organization, peoples organizations, the business and religious sectors combined efforts to confiscate illegally cut and transported forest products amounting to an estimated 54 million pesos. Similarly, the government recently partnered with the private sector, local government units and other stakeholders to promote 40 ecologically sustainable technologies consisting, among others, of bamboo propagation and plantation management, vermicomposting, tiger grass production and mangrove plantation and management.
In the area of energy development, the Philippine government recently enacted the Philippine Biofuels Act that provides the policy environment that allows for a diversification of energy sources such as biofuels to utilize indigenous, renewable and sustainably sourced clean energy sources.
We must recognize however, that no matter how organized a country may be in terms of domestic policy – there remain daunting challenges that can only be addressed through international cooperation and action.
The Secretary General’s recent High Level Event on Climate Change clearly illustrated how much more needs to be done across borders to address this global problem. The Philippines spoke at this event and outlined the need to have the global private sector take a stronger and more active role in developing cleaner technologies. It was also pointed out that in almost all instances, developing countries do not have access to the financial resources that are needed to adequately respond to the calamitous effects of climate change. This issue of crosscutting policy concerns on financing, technological and capacity challenges and constraints was also raised by the Philippines at the last Commission on Sustainable Development session last May 2007.
While the global stage is being set for the climate negotiations in Bali this December, the Philippines is similarly preparing itself through a multi-stakeholder approach that can be taken as a modest example of the type of international cooperation needed.
Last 23 October, the first National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation was organized primarily for the benefit of local government units and supported by the recently created Presidential Task Force on Climate Change. International policy input for this event was given by the UNDP Resident Representative and the World Agroforestry Centre.
The work we do here in the Second Committee can also be considered as the seed of broader international cooperative efforts and we look forward to discussing and refining the various Resolutions tabled under this Agenda Item.
The Philippines appreciates the support given by colleagues as we seek to provide input on the issues of sustainable mountain development among others.
Let me conclude, Madam Chair, by expressing the Philippines’ appreciation to the Secretary General for his comprehensive report on the Implementation of Agenda 21, and we support the recommendations contained therein.
We stand ready to continue cooperating with all countries and organizations of the United Nations, and hope to contribute to and benefit from the ongoing international exchange of information on lessons learned and best practices.
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