United Nations Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

UNGA75 Second Committee General Debate - Statement of the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries (MICs)

Monday, 05 October 2020
H.E. ENRIQUE A. MANALO Permanent Representative, Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Chair of the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries
UN Headquarters, New York


Mr. Chair,


I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries composed of Armenia, Belarus, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, and the Philippines.


Let me begin by congratulating you for your election as Chair of the Second Committee Bureau for the 75th session of the General Assembly. We recognize that your leadership comes at a historic and crucial juncture in the important work of this Committee, and assure you of our full support and cooperation. Our congratulations and support extend as well to the other members of the Bureau. 


Our Group stands in solidarity with the global community in addressing the COVID19 pandemic, cognizant that the pandemic has impacted us indiscriminately. We salute healthcare professionals, humanitarian workers, medical researchers and other frontliners around the world who continues to dedicate their time and risk their own lives to help and save others during this crisis.


We welcome the adoption of resolution 74/274 on International cooperation to ensure global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to face COVID-19, which has facilitated the work of the UN system in its coordinated response.


In this light, we recognize and commend the Secretary-General for the comprehensive response of the United Nations system to the pandemic. Despite challenges, we see concrete gains thus far in improving and strengthening the UN Development System (UNDS). All governments should work to ensure that it delivers efficiently and effectively on the ground, supporting countries to respond and recover better from the pandemic and to succeed in their efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.



Mr. Chair,


The COVID-19 pandemic is a global shock that continues to threaten the lives, livelihood and well-being of our people. Our development gains have been derailed, and our efforts to achieve the SDGs, in all its three dimensions, have been compromised.


This pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing challenges of middle-income countries and has brought about new vulnerabilities. This is a fact, supported by empirical data on the acute impacts of the pandemic specifically to middle-income countries. It highlights that we cannot rely on GDP per capital alone as an indicator of vulnerability. Let me mention a few of these challenges:


  • The substantial drop in remittances for some countries, loss of full-time employment, loss of employment in the informal sector and debt risk due to the pandemic are specifically being felt in, and will acutely impact, middle-income countries;
  • The updated publication on the “United Nations Comprehensive Response to COVID-19: Saving lives, protecting societies, recovering better” released last month details that global working-hour losses are projected at 14% in the second quarter of 2020, relative to 2019. This is equivalent to nearly 500 million full-time jobs. Lower-middle-income countries are expected to be the hardest hit, with a decline of 16.1%.  Further, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries are expected to decline by $109 billion in 2020, or 19.7%, relative to 2019, adversely affecting families and communities that depend on them;
  • FAO has pronounced that the human and economic toll from the pandemic will be massive, and that low- and middle-income countries are poised to be worst affected. It is expected that about 270 million people in these countries will face acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Most of the hungry and undernourished populations today live in middle-income countries; and
  • WHO has stated that COVID-19 has revealed gaps in health systems, with low- and middle-income countries bearing the brunt of lack of investment in public health systems and shortages of healthcare workers.


Just last week, the Ministers of our Like-Minded Group met and adopted a Ministerial Declaration that reaffirmed, among others, our commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Declaration elaborated on the impacts of the pandemic on middle-income countries, and underlined that, as we enter the Decade of Action, and amidst COVID-19, we need to work together to protect, as much as possible, the development gains thus far achieved and to build back better. It also recalled requests and mandates given to the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary General and the UN system to address the specific challenges of middle-income countries.


The Declaration is part of the official documentation of the 75th session of the General Assembly and we invite all delegations to take due note of its contents.



Mr. Chair,


We are committed to advancing the interests of middle-income countries, particularly in the work of the Second Committee.


We will persist in our call for the UN system to seriously address the concerns and specific challenges of middle-income countries.  Not doing do would be shortsighted as these countries, taken together, constitute more than a hundred countries that account for more than half of the UN membership, majority of the world’s population, two thirds of the world’s poor, more than a third of global GDP, and a quarter of world’s exports and imports.


The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will remain out of reach if middle-income countries, who are themselves engines of growth, are unable to achieve the full spectrum of the Sustainable Development Goals. 


It is in the spirit of global solidarity, resilience and ensuring that no one is left behind that members of our Group will engage constructively in resolutions that will be discussed in the Second Committee.


* * *