Excellencies, distinguished delegates, good evening.
Exactly a year ago, I also spoke in this segment and shared the commitment of the Philippines to the SDGs. In light of COVID-19, the Philippines has appealed for equitable access to vaccines and technology. Now, as we reiterate this appeal, we ask everyone to reflect on how we can truly achieve a sustainable and resilient recovery for all, without leaving no one and no country behind.
Last March, the Philippines released the updated Philippine Development Plan. A key aspect of this plan is to steer transformation towards equity and resiliency. This includes reducing vulnerabilities of Filipinos, in the aspects of health and food security, and making human capital development more agile. We realize that time is of the essence, but with renewed faith on global cooperation and multilateralism, we think it is possible to recover together.
In this regard, we are proposing the following cooperation areas:
- Ensuring vaccine equity. Time is of the essence as the virus continues to mutate, take lives, and hinder economies from fully opening. Echoing the sentiment, “Universal access to safe, early, effective, and affordable vaccines is the only way to end the pandemic, support economic recovery and realize the Sustainable Development Goals.” which transpired during the “Vaccine for All” High-Level Meeting of the ECOSOC last April, we appeal for stronger global mechanisms that will immediately address delays in production and distribution of vaccines. It is crucial that we address intellectual property rights restrictions that prevent scaling up of production. We cannot inoculate everyone on time if production remains limited among few countries. We need a more inclusive and concerted approach to accelerating vaccine production and distribution.
- Developing a common digital vaccination certificate. We support the Smart Vaccination Certificate Working Group of the World Health Organization (WHO) in developing standards for a common digital smart vaccination certificate. We hope that the group will consider a simple yet globally recognized digital vaccination certificate which contains secured data that can be verified, noting that these are meant for cross-border implementation. We need to determine the common minimum information to be encoded, the extent of confidence to be placed on these information, and the interoperability of the verification technology.
- Collaborating for developing online learning platforms and resources. The pandemic has disrupted the way education is being delivered. Now, digital tools and learning resources have become essential as teachers and students learn to adapt to blended learning. We call on experts among member states to create open learning platforms, such as learning management systems and mobile applications, to make lessons more engaging for students. Initiatives such as OER4Covid, established by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and OERu in partnership with the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), can serve as a model to develop similar programs which increase interoperability and availability of open educational resources (OERs) for teachers and students all over the world.
- Institutionalizing knowledge exchange. We propose building a platform where member states could learn from each other’s pandemic response. This will also serve as a mechanism to better coordinate policy response, and enable collaboration and assistance on implementation. We believe that partnerships will be the future, given our collective role in responding to global risks such as infectious diseases and climate action failure.
- Ensuring access to food and essential goods. During the pandemic, some countries have restricted exports of vital commodities such as rice, PPEs and medicines. Given this, we recommend building a global or regional stockpile to ensure supply of essential goods. It is also important that we improve the flow of goods and services, whether through digital solutions or logistics reforms. We also see this as an opportunity to boost research and development in this area, to increase productive capacity and support food value chain.
The path to recovery will be difficult. This is exactly the time we need to believe in our collective strength to do better. Only then we can move forward.
 United Nations (17 July 2020). Philippine Statement at the ECOSOC High Level Segment. Retrieved from https://www.un.int/philippines/statements_speeches/philippine-statement-ecosoc-high-level-segment
 United Nations (20 April 2021). Presidential Statement at the ECOSOC High-Level Meeting on “Vaccine for All”. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/ecosoc/sites/www.un.org.ecosoc/files/files/en/2021doc/PresidentialStatement-VaccineForAll.pdf
 World Health Organization (n.d.). Smart Vaccination Certification Working Group. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/groups/smart-vaccination-certificate-working-group
 World Economic Forum (2021). The Global Risks Report 2021. Retrieved from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_Global_Risks_Report_2021.pdf