UN Philippines chief bats for renewed partnership with business sector in COVID-19 recovery

UN Philippines Resident Coordinator's addresses the 2021 General Assembly of the UN Global Compact in the Philippines

The message of the Resident Coordinator follows below:

Building a lasting partnership with the private sector is one of the priorities of the UN in the Philippines.

It is a great pleasure to speak before the General Assembly of the United Nations Global Compact in the Philippines, which is taking place in very exceptional circumstances in the history of the country and the history of the planet.

The impact of the COVID 19 crisis is still unfolding and we are gathering a number of lessons that will shape the future of businesses in the Philippines and globally.

Before COVID-19, the Philippine Human Development Index reflected a positive trajectory in terms of the 3 basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living.

However, the most recent simulation by the UN on the impact of COVID19 on the Human Development Index shows that human development in the Philippines is set back by about 3 years or could return to its pre-2017 level.

In this sense, the crisis has compromised hard-won development gains. And we know that the magnitude of the challenge is exceeding the capacity of response of any single player. Recovering from the pandemic is, above all, a massive investment in partnership; a massive investment in alliances and platforms. In some way, we have to re-write the “Partnership Handbook”.

With this spirit, I engaged since my arrival -last year- with the various UN agencies in a full revision of our cooperation framework with the Philippines. We reviewed our programming assumptions, we revisited our development goals and we aligned our humanitarian and development branches with the new national priorities.

Today, we have a Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework for COVID-19 Response and Recovery (SEPF) which represents a compelling value proposition from more than 20 UN agencies, pooling their knowledge, experience and resources to support the country to recover from the pandemic, but also keeping the country on the SDGs track.

On the path to recovery, we have a unique opportunity to address socioeconomic inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic for a more sustainable, resilient, rights-based, gender-equal and carbon-neutral future, instead of going back to systems and approaches that have proven unsustainable, unequitable and ineffective to prevent, for instance, a pandemic.

Building a lasting partnership with the private sector -with you- is one of the priorities of the UN in the Philippines. And the recently launched “10-in-10” Business Ambition is a great opportunity for a meaningful alliance.

The 10-in-10 Business Ambition brings a new development paradigm, promoting approaches consistent with circular economy, smart climate action, supply chain resilience, decent jobs, while capitalizing on responsive financing mechanisms to boost inclusive investments.

I hope that you will find in our new Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework the best platform to leverage the 10-in-10 initiative. In this context, let me share with you some of the actions the UN will initiate in the coming months:

  1. We will engage the private sector in the application of an integrated national financing framework to ensure effective resource allocation for investments in the COVID19 recovery phase. Our dialogue with the government and international financial institutions will be critical.
  2. The UN will embark on a Strategic Dialogue with the private sector to identify shared values to support the achievement of the SDGs.  We also look forward to see diversity in the membership  and increased footprint of Global Compact at subnational levels for wider outreach and coverage.
  3. The UN will set up an Innovation and Policy Transformation Facility to better stimulate business innovation for a resilient economy. We look forward to private sector contributions to fund the prototyping of development solutions as well as key research for policy development. 

We know that equality, inclusiveness and sustainability are not only moral imperatives. They are key to a peaceful, healthy and prosperous future. 

In that spirit, I wish you a productive meeting and I hope that your discussions will lead to concrete steps towards the world we all want and urgently need.   Thank you!

UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office