PHL and Joint United Nations Human Rights Program Cite Milestones in Partnership
Foreign SECRETARY Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez acknowledged the milestones the Philippines and the United Nations jointly achieved in 2021 during the virtual commemoration of United Nations Day on October 25.
These include the launch of the Joint Philippines-UN Human Rights Program, the delivery of over 24 million vaccines through the COVAX facility and the UN-facilitated âPeople’s Summitâ. , which Locsin called an âexample of demonstrating the localization of a global program,â in particular the Food Systems Summit.
The secretary recalled the UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020, which was marked “in a dark mood” due to the pandemic, and noted that “although we are still not out of the woods, we now have the knowledge and tools to combat it. : vaccines, drugs and informed policies.
In particular, he recognized the COVAX facility, âwithout which the Philippines [pandemic] the immunization program is reportedly still languishing.
In addition to vaccines, Gonzalez reported that thanks to some 150 different initiatives of the United Nations country team in the Philippines, more than 5 million people at risk have been able to access essential health services, and more than 6 million ‘children have benefited from distance education. by the end of 2020.
Likewise, Locsin commended the landmark initiative of the Joint Philippines-UN Program on UN-Government Human Rights Collaboration.
âI thank the United Nations Resident Coordinator and my good friend Gustavo Gonzalez. Under his leadership, the United Nations country team has become our most trusted partner in sustainable development, combating climate change and defending human rights, âsaid Locsin. âHe embodies the ‘inclusive multilateralism’ declared by President Duterte as the only [kind] that can deliver the global public goods we need.
On July 22, the Philippines and the UN signed the three-year joint human rights program. It was developed to implement Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution 45/33 adopted on October 7, 2020, which defined specific areas for capacity building and technical cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. The joint program document was signed by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Locsin and Gonzalez, in the presence of the late JosÃ© Luis Gascon of the Human Rights Commission (CHR).
In addition to the Department of Justice, the joint United Nations program is co-implemented by the Secretariat of the Presidential Human Rights Committee, the Department of Home Affairs and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, the Dangerous Drugs Council, the Department of Health, the Counter-Terrorism Council-Program Management Center, Bureau of Prison Management and Penology, and the CHR. Civil society organizations and academia will also be essential partners in the execution of the joint program.
United Nations entities involved in the program, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO; the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office; and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime will work with the government, drawing on expertise and best practices to apply human rights-based approaches in these areas.
Looking ahead, Gonzalez said the UN in the Philippines will support the country to fund efforts to better emerge from the pandemic: âWe have set a priority with the government for the coming year, which is to help to put in place a diversified funding framework that will leverage [on additional resources for pandemic recovery and getting the Sustainable Development Goals] back on track.
âUltimately, the success of the United Nations team must be measured by the difference we make in people’s livesâ¦. And most notably, the difference we make when we reach those who face the most difficult circumstances, at the risk of being ‘left behind’, âGonzalez concluded.
Image courtesy of DFA