MANILA – The Philippine government has called for a ânew democratic multilateralismâ and an inclusive global economy that empowers not only the few, but also the marginalized and the most vulnerable.
In a pre-recorded message to the 15th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad 15) on October 5, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. stressed the need for a “decisive transformation of multilateralism” to bridge the gaps. gaps in multilateral development processes. and the âlong ignored vulnerabilitiesâ of developing countries, especially with the current global health crisis.
âJust like we did in 1964 and 1979, we need to find new approaches in 2021 to prepare for the rest of the decade,â Locsin said. âThis pandemic has caused the most significant economic, social and political disruption – not to mention life itself since World War II. It demands nothing less than a major shift in another or at least one reinvigorated paradigm. “
He sought a new multilateralism that facilitates âinclusive transformations and resilient structuresâ in the areas of the digital economy, the creative economy, universal health coverage, migration and remittances, and micro , small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME).
It must also integrate the interests of developing countries, including middle-income countries “where 75 percent of the world’s population live and 62 percent of the world’s poor live,” Locsin said.
âWhat we have in mind is a global economy that promotes the well-being, inclusion and empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable people,â he added.
The UNCTAD secretariat released a report last month predicting that developing countries would be $ 12 trillion poorer by 2050 due to the pandemic, unless the world “decisively pulls away.” of four decades driven by misplaced faith in unregulated markets “.
The report called for “giving new life to multilateral cooperation” through “political transformations”, including improving the political space of developing countries.
Onctad 15, which runs October 3-7, is expected to adopt the Bridgetown Covenant, a policy document that will guide Unctad’s work over the next five years.
The Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva said the document was in the final stages of negotiation between the Group of Seventy-Seven (G77) and China, the European Union, the Eurasian Economic Union and the United Nations. JUSCANZ Group made up of Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and the Republic of Korea.
The G77, a grouping of 134 developing countries, appointed the Philippine delegate to UNCTAD in Geneva as the central negotiator for the section of the document on âTransforming multilateralismâ.
âOur call for transformation stems from a recognition of persistent inequities in global governance. We need a new perspective that does not shy away from a factual diagnosis of the state of affairs; but that doesn’t require throwing away the core values ââthat underpin every good we seek to achieve, such as individual freedom, dignity and security, âLocsin said. âIn this bold reinvention of multilateralism, UNCTAD must recover its centrality. “
Established in 1964, UNCTAD is considered the most inclusive multilateral forum for trade and development.
Its three pillars of policy analysis, technical cooperation and consensus building aim to promote the interests of developing countries and bridge the gap between poor and rich states.
Many of the principles of world trade and development, including special and differential treatment for developing countries in the World Trade Organization and the Generalized Scheme of Preferences, have their origins in discussions in UNCTAD.
The Philippines hosted the 5th Unctad in Manila in 1979. (ANP)