UN Philippines chief puts spotlight on environment at Stockhom+50 event in Manila
16 December 2022
Mr. Gustavo Gonzalez reiterates Stockholm+50 call to strengthen national implementation of existing commitments for a healthy planet
United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez delivered the following message at the Stockholm+50 Culminating Event on 16 December 2022:
H.E. Annika Gunilla Thunborg, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden
Atty. Jonas Leones, Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs, DENR
My colleagues from the UN Country Team
Partners from government present here and those joining online
Good morning to all of you.
I am very pleased to join you in this culmination of the celebration of the 50 years since the UN Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm in 1972. We have certainly come a long way since the multilateral community, including the Philippines, first came together and put a spotlight on the environment as a shared global concern.
More than celebrating successes, Stockholm+50 was an important opportunity to reflect on where we are now and where we may be headed if we don’t take corrective actions. The world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We face a triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Each year, the climate emergency is killing and displacing ever more people. Ecosystems degradation is escalating the loss of biodiversity and compromising the well-being not only of the people here now but also of our next generation. There is the ever-growing challenge of pollution and waste. Stockholm+50 was therefore a very timely event that brought the global community together to renew commitments, energize action, and find practical initiatives to change course.
I understand that Stockholm+50 held last June 2022 identified new ideas, new models of engagement, and new approaches to environmental governance. I am pleased to note that the Philippines played a very active role in before, during, and after the event through the conduct of multiple stakeholder consultations supported by the United Nations to prepare inputs, and the participation of the Philippine delegation in shaping the Stockholm+50 agenda, and here now to take forward the country’s commitment and translate these into concrete action.
An important recommendation for action from Stockholm+50 was a call to strengthen national implementation of existing commitments for a healthy planet. This can be achieved by: (1) enhancing environmental national legislation, budget, planning processes and institutional frameworks; (2) promoting evidence-based policymaking, including by enhanced collaboration between academic disciplines and thematic scientific panels, drawing on insights and expertise from indigenous and traditional knowledge; and (3) scaling-up capacity support and development, access to, and financing for environmentally sound technologies.
To a certain extent, the UN system in the Philippines has already been assisting the government in these three areas through the implementation of the UN Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework for COVID-19 Recovery in the Philippines 2020-2023. A few examples of our past work include: (1) supporting the preparation of policies and amended legislation for the conservation and sustainable use of agro-biodiversity in traditional agro-ecosystems; (2) assessing past adaptation activities to provide a guide for future short and long term adaptation measures for agriculture and fisheries; and (3) promoting the adoption of renewable energy in underserved remote communities.
Looking ahead, the UN now has a great window of opportunity to come together and coordinate our support to assist the government move forward the Stockholm +50 agenda. We are currently in the middle of the process of developing a new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for 2024 to 2028. This new cooperation framework to be agreed with the government will serve as our shared blueprint for the UN’s support for the next five years that will be closely aligned with the new Philippine Development Plan for 2023 to 2028. I therefore urge you to participate and engage with the UN in this process so that we can ensure our support to the government on addressing the country’s significant environmental challenges are fully aligned with the Stockholm+50 agenda.
I would like to end by reaffirming the UN’s strong commitment to the Philippines and working with all of you to protect our planet, to recover sustainably from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure that the most vulnerable – such as the youth, women, and Indigenous Peoples – are part of our collective decision-making to achieve a healthy planet for the prosperity of all. [Ends]