If there is any time more critical for multilateralism it is now, as nations struggle to overcome the devastation to societies and individuals wrought by the pandemic.
At our Summit last year, we strived for a “more relevant, united and effective NAM” against emerging global challenges, including COVID-19. I am tempted to say I see it succeeding, until this morning’s news.
With the Online NAM Summit on COVID-19 and the NAM-initiated UNGA Special Session on COVID-19 and Human Rights Council resolution on ensuring equitable, affordable, timely and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, we showed that NAM could reconstitute its relevance and reassert itself.
And with our insistence on multilateralism as the right path to address the pandemic, we persuaded states to cease their retreat into themselves and the powerful to act with decency, as they should have done so from the start.
The Philippines continues to believe that we must put people at the core of our global response. That means protecting the rights of migrants, regardless of status and nationality; reinforcing healthcare systems and protecting health care workers; and strengthening scientific cooperation and universal access to vaccines, including through the COVAX Facility which is a great success and has greatly enhanced the United Nations. We thank US President Biden for his generous contributions to the COVAX Facility
We also need to leverage information and technology to prepare for future pandemics. 75% of the world’s population and 62 of the world’s poor are in middle-income countries. But MICs also represent a third of global GDP. If there is to be a global recovery from the pandemic, MICs must have access to programs and funds to address COVID-19. That sounds like the Gospel’s to those who much, more will be given. But it also means, to those who made a good start, don’t let them lose that. To those who haven’t, help them survive and get going.
As a committed member of the NAM, the Philippines urges the Chair, Azerbaijan to uphold at all times the saving principles and practices of the movement, and ensure its survival. Respect and adherence to the time-honored processes of the NAM has been the bedrock of the solidarity and unity of the movement. Whether in New York, Geneva or Vienna. It is important that NAM conducts its work by long-honored principles of openness, transparency, impartiality and inclusiveness. This is the keystone in the durable structure of the movement and our credibility before the world.
There are other challenges. The pandemic altered the global security landscape. Terrorist threats are evolving, and with heightened geo-political tensions, the threat of nuclear war grows. We welcome in this regard the 7th UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and advocate stronger for the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The 1982 Manila Declaration on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes – which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year – is all the more relevant. We welcome the Political Declaration and recommit to multilateralism, with the UN Charter as its essence. Finally, Mr. Chair, the Philippines welcomes the admission of the Russian Federation as observer state to NAM. Why not invite the United States? I see no purpose to Non-Alignment; and every reason for everyone, allies and even rival powers, to align for the common good of all mankind.