Thank you very much Mr. Chairman,
At the outset, let me congratulate you on your well-deserved election, and we assure you of our full support. My delegation associates itself with the statements of Indonesia on behalf of NAM and of Viet Nam on behalf of ASEAN.
The pandemic is setting back our efforts in disarmament and nonproliferation. It has further complicated the prevailing global security environment, which is characterized by increasing polarization and intensifying conflicts. All these undermine our efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
This pandemic should prompt us to redouble our efforts and continue pursuing forward-looking, action-oriented outcomes to implement the obligations in the NPT. The urgent need for significant and tangible progress is underlined by the catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the social and economic costs of perpetuating them.
My delegation wishes to highlight the following:
- The Philippines supports the 13 Practical Steps and the 64-Point Action Plan that was agreed upon in the 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conferences, respectively. The implementation of Article VI of the NPT is crucial, and in this regard, Action 5 of the 2010 Action Plan, could contribute toward accelerated concrete progress on nuclear disarmament.
- We reiterate our call for the early entry into force of the CTBT.
- We are concerned over the deepening mistrust, and the widening divide among States Parties, the modernization and refinement of nuclear weapon capabilities, and the lowering of nuclear weapons-use thresholds.
- We call on the nuclear weapons states to fulfill their NPT commitments with sincerity and without conditions. We also call on relevant parties to reconsider their withdrawal or suspension of obligations from critical landmark agreements.
- The Philippines commends the IAEA for its invaluable role in accelerating and enlarging the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity. In particular, the Philippines attaches great importance to the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme, as the Agency’s main delivery vehicle for the transfer of the peaceful uses of nuclear technology to developing countries.
- The Philippines emphasizes the role of nuclear-weapons free zones in reinforcing the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation framework. Stronger cooperation and coordination between and among them, and with the nuclear weapons states, would help affirm this important role.
In the upcoming NPT Review Conference, we hope that Member States take this opportunity to constructively engage and address outstanding issues without delay to ensure the Conference’s success.
In addition to the NPT, the Philippines is a signatory to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which represents efforts towards the universalization of global norms against nuclear weapons. It is in line with the Philippine Constitution and the Bangkok Treaty. The President of the Philippines has asked the Philippine Senate to ratify the TPNW.
On the other weapons of mass destruction, the Philippines is taking an active role in the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). It is important to ensure the Convention’s financial sustainability and to strengthen international cooperation and preparedness, response and assistance, as well as foster greater synergies between and among the relevant international organizations and with regional organizations.
As member of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Philippines is very much involved in the work of the OPCW. International cooperation for the elimination of chemical weapons stockpiles and their non-proliferation remain an urgent concern. We reaffirm our commitment to the objectives of the CWC, and the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of all its provisions.
We call on all Member States to fully implement the NPT, the BWC, and the CWC. Our President has stated: “no aspiration nor ambition can justify the use of weapons that destroy indiscriminately and completely… These weapons of death put us all at mortal risk, especially if they fall in the hands of terrorists….”
The Philippines supports the implementation of strong regulations for conventional weapons. Thus, we attach importance to the Arms Trade Treaty and are actively participating in the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
The Philippines is the President-designate of the 22nd Annual Conference of High Contracting Parties of the Second Amended Protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). There is a need to address the threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), particularly by armed non-state actors. We fully support efforts to strengthen mechanisms for international cooperation in this regard.
The Philippines sees the CCW as the appropriate framework to address potential threats arising from lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), including possible acquisition by armed non-state actors. There is a need for a robust and future-proof legally-binding instrument to address these threats.
Explosive remnants of war and unexploded ordnances such as mines and cluster munitions continue to threaten lives. We urge the international community to pursue mine action in a manner that enhances support to victims, and helps establish solid national capacities for the affected countries.
The Philippines is deeply concerned over the reported continued use of cluster munitions, and calls on relevant countries to become States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. As Coordinator for the universalization of this Convention, the Philippines stands ready to assist any country that wishes to complete the steps necessary in acceding to the Convention.
The Philippines is also concerned over the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA). We shall actively participate in international efforts to address this concern.
Outer space has long been serving as the platform of some states to project their global position. The weaponization of space runs counter to the objective of exploring and preserving outer space for peaceful uses. We call on space-faring nations to respect applicable laws and norms on the use of weapons in outer space, and develop appropriate and effective instruments to prevent an arms race in outer space.
With regard to the protection of critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks and information manipulation, the Philippines promotes equitable capacity building given the various levels of states’ development of cyber infrastructure and appreciation of international law. International cooperation must be strengthened to ensure that states have a common understanding of how international law and norms are applied to cyberspace. There should be close coordination between the Open-Ended Working Group and the Group of Governmental Experts to ensure efficient use of resources and to produce outcomes that are complementary rather than redundant or competing.
Another important concern is the mainstreaming of gender issues in the disarmament processes. We advocate stronger collaboration with partner states, international organizations, NGOs, and research institutions to pursue and expand relevant initiatives.
Manifestations of paralysis in the disarmament machinery, both on the procedural and substantive nature, are very concerning. The UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) session in the past two years was unduly subjected to a combination of organizational, procedural, and political issues. This must be resolved before the Commission’s meeting in 2021.
The Philippines recognizes the important role of the Conference on Disarmament and reiterates its call on the Conference to agree, by consensus, on a balanced and comprehensive program of work without further delay.
In conclusion, I wish to emphasize the critical importance of building trust and confidence in all areas. In this regard, the Philippines encourages the resumption of constructive steps and positive engagement among concerned Member States to address issues on arms control and nuclear disarmament, especially bilateral ones. This remains, ultimately, our main task.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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