The United Nations in the Philippines

The Philippines is one of the original 51 charter members that created the United Nations in 1945. The UN Country Team (UNCT) in the Philippines consists of eleven resident funds, programmes, and specialized agencies (FAO, IFAD, ILO, IOM, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIDO, WFP, and WHO), six project offices (UNAIDS, UNESCO, UN Habitat, UNODC, UNOPS, UN Women), and three secretariat offices (OCHA, UNIC and UNDSS). Standing invitees are ADB, IMF, and the World Bank. The UN assists and supports the Government of the Philippines in its important development, peacebuilding and humanitarian priorities. 

Children in Benguet Province, Philippines
Children playing in Benguet Province, Philippines

The UN has been a partner of the Philippine government for over seven decades, supporting state institutions to respect, uphold and implement the international treaty obligations and agreed development goals that the Philippines has voluntarily adhered to over the years. To this partnership, the UN has brought normative policy support, technical assistance and advocacy, but most importantly, its ability to convene, coordinate and mobilize stakeholders from across the political spectrum in support of the country’s development agenda. In the Philippines, the quality of its technical assistance and its effectivity and neutrality as convener and coordinator has earned the UN the trust of claim holders and duty-bearers, both government and non-government, national and international.

Milestones

  1. In 1945, the Philippines was among the 51 original Member States, and one of only four Asian nations, that signed the UN Charter. The Philippines actively took part in the negotiations for the Sendai Framework for Natural Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015, and succeeded in having migrants included in the Framework, particularly in recognizing their contributions in building disaster resilient communities. Recently, the Philippines contributed and participated in the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.
  2. The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) serves as the implementation mechanism of the SDGs. In the context of the Philippines as a middle-income country, the UN supports to ensure that no one is left behind in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Under the Government’s leadership, the 15-year Cohort Study of the Filipino girl and boy (2016-2030) will generate groundbreaking information for policy making and help track progress and impact of government interventions.
  3. In November 2018, the UN Country Team (UNCT) signed the Partnership Framework for Sustainable Development (PFSD) 2019-2023 with the Government. The PFSD redefines the nature of UN System engagement in the Philippine from one that provides “development assistance” to a collaboration in a “strategic partnership.” As an initial investment in the longer-term UN support to the 2030 Agenda, it recognizes the strengths and capacities of the Government.
  4. Typhoon Haiyan – the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall in human history - hit the country in November 2013. Recovery started as soon as two months after the event, with UN agencies and partners fully shifting gears to rehabilitation and development work, due to the good results of the humanitarian phase and in response to the Government’s official launch of the recovery phase. The UN continues to collaborate with governments and partners in building community-level resilience and in developing early warning and prevention systems.
  5. The Philippines has ratified eight of the nine core international human right treaties – the only country in Asia to have done so. The UN has contributed to the domestic human rights legal system through advocacy, institutional capacity building, and technical assistance facilitating the passage of numerous landmark legislations. The UN supports the Philippines in the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which is considered a historic achievement towards peace and stability in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that was established in March 2019.
  6. In 2006, the UN Civil Society Advisory Committee/Assembly, a consultative body to the UN Country Team, was established as a participatory mechanism for CSOs to review the effectiveness of the UN development agenda for the country. In 2018, a first ever for the Philippines UN Youth Advisory Board (UN YAB), representing voices of diverse youth, was established by the UNCT. In 2019, the reinvigorated relationship between the Global Compact Network Philippines and the UNCT provided a new opportunity to mobilize local businesses around the PFSD and 2030 Agenda.

The Sustainable Development Goals in Philippines

The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in the Philippines: