Our discussion is timely, with the growing trend towards unilateralism and increasing attacks against multilateralism because of shifting political realities; power configurations; waning commitments and waxing self-interest; and the inevitable confusion of public reaction throughout the world.
The Philippines supports the Secretary General’s call for a renewed, and in the present context, a stronger commitment to a rules-based order and a robust return to multilateralism which gives voice to the small; counsels patience against provocations until the facts are in; weighs options for practicality and sustainability; and imparts to actions finally taken a credibility often rightly denied to unilateral not to say impulsive decisions.
As one of the 50 Founding Members of the United Nations, the Philippines vigorously promotes the multilateral process. At the UN, community of states finally has a forum for talking before fighting or submitting without being heard; thresh out differences; and work on shared priorities — an experiment in world governance but without domination; a venue where the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity are unchallenged assumptions.
All men and women are created equal with those entitlements. As the only world forum, the UN remains the main platform to fight the enemies of those values: ignorance, disease, poverty, injustice and extremism.
With successes, continuing challenges, and unceasing criticism, the UN has shown resilience without compromise, in a world where once again the weak suffer as they must and the strong do as they please.
The Philippines is coordinating and facilitating multilateral issues that really matter to our people – migration and development; the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, trafficking in persons, drugs and arms; protecting persons with disabilities and promoting biological diversity. We have been advocating for the Global Compact on Migration which is anchored on human rights and just plain decency.
On peace and security, the Philippines has championed the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We cooperate closely with the UN on counter-terrorism. We have been partnering with Pakistan on a UN General Assembly resolution under the Culture of Peace agenda since 2004, among others.
On maritime cooperation: at the regional level, while recognizing differences and never compromising our core interests, the Philippines has the coordinating role in ASEAN for the next two years towards the adoption of a common code of conduct in the South China Sea. A Code that recognizes no deciding role for great powers near or far.
The UN is a cooperative collective of sovereignties. It is not nor ever will be a sovereign collective controlled by a handful of great powers – most of them living off the shadows of their former greatness. There can be no other world order than the one established with the United Nations as its guardian. Any other kind substitutes the meaning of order with the substance of suppression.
We believe that the United Nations remains the essential World Organization.
Thank you. END