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

Philippine Statement
Senator of the Republic of the Philippines
on Agenda Item 47
“Integrated and Coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the
outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in
the economic, social and related fields"
at the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
3 November 2008


Mr. President,

Thank you for giving the floor to the Philippines.

I am honored to deliver this statement on behalf of the Philippines and to manifest for the record that it aligns with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

The Philippines also wishes to commend the Secretary General for the preparation of the comprehensive report on this Agenda Item 47 entitled “Role of the Economic and Social Council in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits, in light of relevant General Assembly resolutions, including Resolution 61/16.”

Mr. President,

As an immediate past Vice-President of the ECOSOC, the Philippines has been in the privileged position of actively participating in the revitalization of this important organ of the United Nations. In the same manner, it continues to contribute to the work of the various functional commissions of which it is a member.

On substantive matters, the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review’s focus this year on sustainable development coincided with the Philippine’s positions on cross-cutting issues such as the food crisis, climate change, and the gender gap that were reported during the Commission on Sustainable Development’s meeting last May - all aspects of which add to the challenges faced by developing countries in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

The Philippines has taken the position that greater focus should be given to adaptation than mitigation. Adapting to climate change requires reducing underlying vulnerabilities, building response capacities, and managing climate risks. Two weeks ago, parliamentarians from countries vulnerable to climate change who gathered together in a consultative meeting in Manila, Philippines, came up with The Manila Call for Action of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. The Philippines, together with these countries will also look into the compliance of our respective Governments with the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, the guide for effective disaster reduction at national level, which 168 countries adopted in 2005.

It is now high time to review the legislative progress in adhering to the Hyogo Framework for Action, the UNFCCC and the Bali Plan of Action. Accordingly, the Philippine resounds the Parliamentarians’ entreaty to the United Nations and the International Parliamentary Union to commence the process of transforming the Hyogo Framework for Action to an internationally binding legal instrument. The Philippines is convinced that this would strengthen our commitments to and ensure the realization of the goals and objectives of the Hyogo Framework for Action.

Mr. President,

The ECOSOC special meeting on the Global Food Crisis was one of the very first discussions on this problem, and one that led up to the High-level meeting in Rome and the eventual finalization of the Comprehensive Framework for Action.

As one of the world’s largest importers of rice, the Philippines remains critically engaged in this process on the food crisis.

During the meeting on the Commission on the Status of Women, the Philippines highlighted the fact that the World Economic Forum ranked the Philippines as the only Asian country in the top ten of the Global Gender Gap index – an achievement that reflects progress in narrowing the gender gap. However, that is not reflective of the vulnerability faced by women in the face of the current global crises.

On procedural matters, it has become apparent that all of the major global crises that have made the headlines over the past year – the food and fuel crises, climate change and environmental degradation, and most recently, the financial crisis are within the purview of the ECOSOC. These crises pose a grave threat to the achievement of all internationally agreed development goals, and in particular the Millennium Development Goals.

The number and severity of these global crises challenge the UN system, and all UN Member States as well, in terms of trying to find quick, coherent, comprehensive and coordinated responses to the multi-dimensional and, oftentimes, inter-related effects of these problems.

The large number of issues we have to deal with and the number of reports and documents churned out by various UN bodies and agencies make it easy to be overwhelmed by the competing interests. Indeed, because of the sheer volume of added work brought about by these crises, we run the risk of overlooking vital connections that could lead us to the correct responses.

The relatively new mechanisms set up under the ECOSOC – the Annual Ministerial Review and the Development Cooperation Forum – offer the possibility of tackling these problems and how they affect international development cooperation in a rational manner.

Mr. President,

The Philippines supports the recommendations contained in the Secretary General’s report that are aimed to streamline and rationalize the functions and operations of the ECOSOC and the functional commissions.

In particular, the Philippines supports taking a closer look at the utility of triennializing the report on integrated follow-up to reduce the amount of work that may not have any useful outcomes.

Finally, on a personal note and speaking as a member of the Philippine Senate, the upper House of the Congress of the Philippines, let me underscore the recommendation on the conduct of the ECOSOC’s Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) that “The inclusion of civil society organizations, parliamentarians as well as local government and private sector representatives provides for a unique opportunity to garner a wide range of inputs for a deepened dialogue on the future of international development cooperation”. There is much merit in this recommendation. I believe that the development pillar of the United Nations must be pushed forward on the basis of a multi-stakeholder approach, as it is only in this manner that we can ensure that policy recommendations, negotiated resolutions and programme implementation can have any real meaning to the ordinary person.

Thank you.

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