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

Philippine Statement
by
 
Ms. Marie Yvette Banzon Abalos

Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations

On Agenda Item 55
Advancement of Women
63rd session of the General Assembly
13 October 2008

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the G77 & China.

Halfway towards the Millennium Development targets, our present efforts are seriously tested by the global food crisis, the accelerating outcomes of climate change, the attacks to peace brought by political and military strife, and now the consequences of the global financial insecurity. While the effects are undeniably felt across countries and regions, we have yet to assess their impact on women across the globe.

On the global food crisis: Reports from the UN indicate that, from June 2007 to February 2008, food prices have risen 55 percent. The cost of rice, which is staple for many developing countries, has increased 87 per cent in March of this year. The food crisis also forces women to neglect their health and compromise nutrition as they make difficult choices -- if they are even lucky enough to have a choice – as they manage their meager resources. Clearly, with an estimated 7 out of 10 of the world’s hungry being women and girls, and the fact that women and children comprise a great proportion of those who live on less than one dollar a day, the food crisis presents a grave threat to the advancement of women around the world. Couple this with the current financial crisis, effects of which are already being felt by ordinary people, we can expect that women will become more vulnerable to poverty, with less access to credit, property and jobs and without the needed social protections.

Member States and the international community should, therefore, reassess its implementation of work towards gender equality. We cannot afford to have a “business-as-usual” attitude, if we are not to allow any backsliding on our targets for women around the world.

Mr. Chairman,

The Secretariat has reported that despite the breadth of the UN’s work on gender, there are areas of our work in this Institution that persistently lack the necessary gender-sensitivity. Gender is missing not only in the reports and documentation, but also in the discussions and debates on certain issues, for example, on climate change. It should be emphasized that what is needed are not general platitudes about gender, but real and critical gender assessments. Fortunately, the principles contained in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in particular the strategic objectives and actions for the critical areas of concern identified, remain timeless guidelines that we can refer to as we face the emergencies faced by the world today.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to take this opportunity to mention that my delegation has the honor to facilitate the discussions on a draft resolution on “Trafficking in women and girls”, a resolution that is biennially considered by the Third Committee. Although the issue of trafficking in persons has been receiving much attention and buzz lately, it should concern us that this problem is growing much faster than we can get our act together to address it. Also, Mr. Chairman, my delegation is concerned about how the approach on the trafficking problem can, at times, be removed from its greatest victims—women and girls. Surveying the numerous strategies to combat trafficking, it can be observed that there is a tendency to approach the trafficking in persons issue predominantly from a law enforcement, criminal justice or immigration perspective. The fact that women and girls comprise around 80 per cent of the victims requires that a gender-based approach, which is naturally also a human rights-based approach, be a cornerstone of all anti-trafficking efforts.

Thank you.





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