First let me thank you very, Madam Chair, for organizing this meeting as well as Ambassador Sulaiman, we think its very timely. I also wish to thank the presenters for the information and the views they have presented this morning.
I wish to begin my presentation by thanking UNDP for its active engagement and support to the Philippines especially in the COVID19 response and recovery programs and I specifically wish to note a few things on UNDPs’ evolving role especially in connection to our response to the pandemic. These are: firstly, strengthening the capture and analysis of key data to inform the health response and better understand the multi-dimensional impact of the crisis; secondly, having to rapidly demonstrating the viability of digital platforms like mobile wallets to expedite payments to the poorest of the poor; and thirdly establishing crisis coordination and management structures in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to support peacebuilding and normalization.
The recently signed Philippines National Action Plan (NAP) against COVID19 Phase III pertains to national strategy and general guidelines to contain, prevent, and eliminate the threat of the pandemic and mitigate its impacts on the country. The plan is characterized by being a people-centred, local government-led, and its nationally-enabled approach that aims to gradually reopen the economy while ensuring that the health and well-being of citizens are not compromised.
For UNDP’s Strategic Plan and Regional Priorities for 2022-2025, we likewise call for a people-centred approach that is action oriented, inclusive, and responsive to the diverse needs, priorities and specific challenges of the countries in the region that goes beyond recovery from the pandemic. It should not lose focus on UNDP’s support to programme countries for achieving the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs; and would also need to take into consideration the mandates from the recently adopted 2020 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR).
On thematic areas for the Strategic Plan, we recommend the inclusion of the following issues which are critical for the Philippines:
- Improved support to MSMEs, in terms of improved financing capacity, increased access to markets, and enhanced digital infrastructures. This is in recognition of the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on the sector as well as its significant contribution to the economy, in terms of employment and GDP share;
- Enhanced technology infrastructure to facilitate trade and education: The pandemic has accelerated e-commerce but has also aggravated the digital divide. To ensure inclusive development and facilitate economic recovery, increased support is needed to improve digital infrastructure and improve access to technologies, especially in the rural and other far-flung areas; and
- Sustainability, which includes measures that promote climate action, ensure minimal disruption to food supply and enhance food security. This will build the region’s resilience to withstand external shocks in the future.
Thank you, Madame Chairs.