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Joint General Debate of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization Committee)

Friday, 22 October 2021
H.E. MR. ENRIQUE A. MANALO, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
General Assembly Hall, UNHQ


  • Agenda item 53: “International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space”
  • Agenda item 56: “Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects”
  • Agenda item 57: “Comprehensive review of special political missions”
  • Agenda item 58: “Question relating to information”


Mr. Chair,

The Philippines aligns itself with the statement delivered by Azerbaijan on behalf of NAM and Indonesia on behalf of ASEAN.

I have the honor to deliver an omnibus national statement on the four (4) agenda items under the purview of the Fourth Committee:

  1. On the “International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space,” the Philippine Space Act outlines the Philippine space policy framework focused on six (6) thematic areas: national security and development, hazard management and climate studies, space research and development, space industry capacity building, space education and awareness, and international cooperation.

The Philippines recently signed an agreement with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs to collaborate on various strategic areas related to space science, technology, policy, law, education and capacity building.

The Philippines wishes to submit the following action points:

  • First, strengthen the role of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) as the main platform for promotion of international cooperation for appropriate technical assistance to developing countries in space-related activities.
  • Second, strengthen international cooperation in the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space activities through space, science and their applications.
  • Third, bridge the technological space divide between the developing and developed countries through capacity building programs and outreach activities in pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • Fourth, ensure the safety, security and sustainability of the use and exploration of outer space through increased voluntary implementation of the Committee’s Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines.
  • Finally, prevent any possibility of an arms race in outer space through transparent confidence building measures.
  1. On the “Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects,” the Philippines welcomes the Secretary-General’s continued resolve to implement peacekeeping reforms under the Action for Peacekeeping+ initiative.

We recently launched a coffee table book, “The Seeds of Peace: The Philippines and UN Peace Operations, 1962-2021,” on the margins of the High-Level Week which highlights the Philippines’ contributions to UN peace operations for almost 60 years, in over 20 UN Field Missions.

  • On the Conduct of Peacekeepers and Peacekeeping Operations, the Philippines underscores its support to the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy and its victim-centered approach on all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). We reiterate the need to fully vet and train Member States’ troops before deployment, and support the recommendation that National Investigation Officers (NIOs) are included in all military units deployed to a field mission.
  • On Partnerships, we encourage greater collaboration between UN and ASEAN in peace operations, including through the implementation of the ASEAN-UN Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership in, among others, capacity-building, the sharing of best practices and increasing women’s participation in peacekeeping.
  • On Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, the Philippines welcomes the consensus adoption of the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on the 2020 “Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture” which reiterate the importance of prioritizing prevention, addressing the root causes of conflict, and devising long-term peacebuilding strategies, with adequate and sustainable financial resources.
  • On Performance and Accountability, we believe that success in peacekeeping operations must be measured by the mandate to protect civilians as the "core criterion of success," with child protection and combating sexual abuse as key elements. Pre-deployment training efforts should be tailored to respond to country-specific challenges.
  • On Politics, the Philippines supports calls to invest more in local political solutions to conflicts, which UN peacekeeping must reinforce and not supplant.
  • On Protection, we encourage Troop-and Police-Contributing Countries to prioritize the protection of civilians under threat of danger through using all necessary means when required, in accordance with the UN Charter, mission mandates and applicable international law. We also recognize the contributions of unarmed civilian protection in peacekeeping operations.
  • On Safety and Security, the Philippines puts high priority in ensuring the safety of peacekeepers. The Special Committee emphasizes the importance of having rules of engagement attuned to the realities on the ground.
  • On Women, Peace and Security, we call for increasing the participation of women in uniformed roles, and to integrating gender perspectives in all aspects of peacekeeping. The Philippines supports increasing deployment of women peacekeepers at all levels, and in leadership positions.
  1. On the “Comprehensive Review of Special Political Missions,” the Philippines believes that UN special political missions should continue to serve as “forward platforms for conflict prevention.”
  • We believe that special political missions are not merely for managing short-term crises, but rather an approach to sustaining peace. SPMs should therefore give greater attention to conflict prevention and mediation, and continue to push for inclusive participation of key stakeholders in all stages of the mission.
  • The Philippines continues to support the ACABQ recommendations on measures to improve SPMs’ funding and backstopping arrangements, including the establishment of a special account for SPMs by providing them with their own budgetary solutions.
  • Robust capacity-building and adequate financial support for all activities in the peace continuum must be ensured.
  1. On the “Question relating to information,” the Philippines submits the following points:
  • First, the Philippines continues to support the UN Department of Global Communications as a “responsible messenger” of the UN, providing accurate, reliable and timely information.
  • Second, the Philippines supports the work of the Committee on Information and the DGC in promoting the three pillars of peace and security, development, and human rights.
  • Third, Member States and Observers, in partnership with key stakeholders such as civil society, private sector and the media, should continue to responsibly harness the power of information to promote peace, inclusivity and development.
  • Fourth, any information released by the UN and its agencies should be properly triangulated and substantiated, including giving Member States the opportunity to provide their side, in the spirit of transparency and impartiality.
  • Fifth, whether through national ownership or community-driven initiatives, the Philippines believes that the core task of information is to provide a platform of opportunities to effect transformational change and ensure that no one is left behind.
  • Finally, we continue to support the UN Global Communications Strategy as a strategic platform “to point out what is going right, what is possible, and how the United Nations and its Member States are making a difference.” 

Thank you.