UN vows to leave no one behind on this year's World Refugee Day
18 June 2021
The head of the UN Refugee Agency's Country Office says that the UN team in the Philippines will ensure that those who are farthest behind are reached first
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)'s head of the Philippine Office. Ermina Gallardo, says UNHCR stands ready with the UN Country Team to extend critical assistance to the Philippine government as it rolls out its development plans and priorities and to ensure that those who are farthest behind are reached first.
Last year, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caught humanity by surprise and has since led to tremendous loss of life and livelihood across the world. Today, recovery efforts are ramping up, with economies slowly beginning to open as more and more people have been able to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
However, the pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on marginalized groups, as new restrictions and health risks have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities. For refugees, asylum seekers, persons at risk of statelessness, and internally displaced people, among others, the COVID-19 crisis has been an emergency on top of an emergency.
Thus, in response to the ongoing health crisis and in line with the principle of leaving no one behind, the United Nations in the Philippines has developed the Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework or SEPF, which will serve as the blueprint for the UN’s work in the country. The SEPF mirrors and supports the Philippine Development Plan and its overarching goal of achieving development for all as part of the the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda.
The UN Country Team will continue to strengthen its partnership with the government for the attainment of the Global Goals for People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace. Through the joint programming approach of the SEPF, the roster of UN agencies in the Philippines, including UNHCR, will provide technical assistance and implement key initiatives to support state-led development efforts across the country.
Most urgently for our persons of concern, UNHCR is working with various government agencies and civil society partners to ensure that refugees and other vulnerable populations under our mandate have continued access to basic rights and services, including medical care and inclusion in local COVID-19 response and recovery programs. UNHCR is also coordinating with our partners to provide durable long-term solutions for forcibly displaced individuals and families.
As the world marches towards recovery from the pandemic, UNHCR stands ready with the UN Country Team to extend critical assistance to the Philippine government as it rolls out its development plans and priorities. With the SEPF, the UN hopes to ensure this development will reach those who need it most, and that those who are farthest behind are reached first.