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PH calls on the UN system to strengthen its efforts to address specific challenges, vulnerabilities of middle-income countries in view of the COVID-19 pandemic

Monday, July 6, 2020 - 09:30

CDA Kira Azucena of the PH Mission to the UN, as Chair of the Like-Minded Group (LMG) of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries (MICs), describes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on middle-income countries at the 2020 ECOSOC Integration Segment held on a virtual platform on 06 July 2020

06 July 2020 – At the 2020 ECOSOC Integration Segment held virtually on 06 July 2020, H.E. Ms. Kira Christianne D. Azucena, Charge d’affaires,a.i. of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York, in her capacity as Chair of the Like-Minded Group (LMG) of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries (MICs), highlighted the multidimensional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on MICs and underlined the urgent need for the international community to work together towards building an enabling global environment for development that takes into consideration the realities of these countries. 

Speaking as Lead Discussant on the session on Getting back on track for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, CDA Azucena, in presenting the perspectives of MICs, stated that to accurately understand the development needs of MICs, there is a need to identify and address the structural gaps in these countries, and to determine mechanisms capable of attending those gaps with greater efficiency and precision. 

She also argued for the need to revise how we measure development.  “Economic growth is not equivalent to sustainable development. The current methodology of measuring development based solely on per capita income is outdated and flawed. Such metric is not a reflection of realistic development if the structural gaps of each country are not taken into account, in particular, socioeconomic inequalities, multidimensional poverty, and vulnerabilities or systemic risks,” said CDA Azucena. 

She reiterated the Group’s request for the UN Development System (UNDS) to address the interests and specific challenges of MICs in a comprehensive, holistic and UN-system wide approach, prioritizing UN agencies’ inter-agency work based on their mandates and comparative advantages, noting that both the Agenda 2030 and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda explicitly recognize the need to address the challenges of middle-income countries.  On this note, she welcomed the call of the Secretary-General for the UNDS to evolve its support to middle-income countries in all their diversity. 

The Integration Segment also held a session on “Leaving no one behind in the context of COVID-19 and the decade of action and delivery, which examined the most pressing challenges to efforts to leave no one behind in view of the pandemic. The session heard the perspectives of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), and the African Region. 

The outcome of the Segment will be a summary by the Vice-President of ECOSOC, highlighting the main policy recommendations and providing policy guidance on the ECOSOC and High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) theme through the lens of COVID-19. 

The Group of MICs is composed of Armenia, Belarus, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, and the Philippines. The Philippines assumed its Chairmanship of the LMG on 04 September 2019.

In light of the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on in-person meetings and international travel, and as per guidance of the UN Medical Director, this year’s Integration Segment was held on a virtual platform. END