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EU, UN in Phl convene to address Global Challenges on Peace and Prosperity

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In photo from left, H. E. Luc Véron, European Union Ambassador to the Philippines, and Gustavo Gonzales, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines. (Photo from UNIC/Gaylord Hintay)

The European Union and the United Nations in the Philippines, in partnership with the University of the Philippines College of Law, convened a forum on October 19th on multilateralism to emphasize the continued importance of global partnerships and cooperation for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At the halfway mark to the 2030 deadline to achieve the SDGs, the world is grappling with a multitude of challenges – political instability, conflicts, poverty, inequality, climate crisis, and global health issues – with progress towards many global targets having stalled, or even backtracked. Confronting these many crises exceeds the response capacity of any single institution or actor and requires multilateral solutions and joint and decisive action. The European Union and the United Nations continue their strong partnership and cooperation ––for the realization of SDGs, through aligned engagement on policy, programmatic priorities and advocacy. Commitment to inclusive multilateral engagement, with space for contributions from all countries and communities, is key for addressing global and local challenges – including in the Philippines, a founding member of the United Nations with a long and rich multilateral tradition.

H. E. Luc Véron, European Union Ambassador to the Philippines, highlighted the important multilateral support for the peace process in Mindanao and emphasized that sustainable peace is critical to achieving sustainable development.

“More than ever, we need to have a well-functioning, rules-based international order with an effective United Nations at its core,” he said. He cited the upcoming Green Economy Programme, which will support the Philippine transition to a circular economy with collaboration with the European Union member states and the United Nations.

Echoing Our Common Agenda, the Secretary-General’s vision for the future of global cooperation, Gustavo González, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, underscored the need for a new generation of multilateralism that is more responsive to evolving global challenges.

“We have to admit that the multilateral system is at greater strain now than at any other time since the creation of the United Nations,” he said, adding that “the effectiveness of our multilateral system will be measured by whether it will lead to a safe, healthy, and inclusive world for the present and future generations.”

This vision is shared by key regional actors such as the European Union, which recognizes the need to work with partners to achieve common goals: peace, prosperity and security.

The Forum on Multilateral Responses to Global Challenges: Building Back Together for Peace and Prosperity is part of a series of events held in October for UN Month to highlight and strengthen the collaborations between the United Nations and partners in government, civil society, private sector and the international community. With the theme “SDGs: A Race We Can Win,” which is part of the global campaign, these events aim to amplify the drumbeat of opportunity to achieve the SDGs.

Panelists included Assistant Secretary Ma Teresa Torres Almojuela, Department of Foreign Affairs, UNDP Resident Representative Dr Selva Ramachandran, Mr Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to the Philippines, Ms Myn Garcia, Deputy Country Representative, Asia Foundation, and Ms Maris Cardenas, Executive Director, Center for Empowerment, Innovation and Training on Renewable Energy. All echoed the call for all sectors to address global, regional and local challenges on a more pragmatic manner, which will promote trust and genuine dialogue. They also asked stakeholders to consider the importance of education, gender balance, digital connectivity and a circular and green economy in addressing present challenges and prepare for the future.

The forum was moderated by Dr Jenny Lind Elmaco, Fellow Royal Society of the Arts (UK) and Alumni Fellow on Sustainable Peacebuilding Marie Sklodwska Curie Actions.

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