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UN showcases achievements, reforms in high-level briefing

MANILA. The United Nations (UN) in the Philippines today presented the highlights of its work to representatives of 42 UN Member States and development partners.

UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo González provided a snapshot of the country’s progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), identifying areas that are on track, as well as those that are lagging or have regressed. This was followed by an overview of the UN Country Team’s (UNCT) cross-cutting activities towards the fulfillment of the SDGs and the Philippines’ development priorities.

The briefing served as a forum for the United Nations to share updates on the implementation of its programmes amid the organization’s shift in focus from traditional development assistance to transformative strategic partnerships for policy and capacity development, knowledge generation and the leveraging of financial resources, as set out under the UN Reform.

“The reform brings clarity to the type of services and support to be delivered by the UNCT.  In a middle-income country like the Philippines, we expect the UNCT to be more engaged in technical assistance, knowledge sharing and policy advice, rather than the service delivery or international coordination support provided to low-income countries,” said Mr. González.

This new approach is reflected in the Philippines-United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2024-2028 (CF), which came into effect at the beginning of the year.

Undersecretary Charles Jose of the Department of Foreign Affairs commended the UN for being a valuable partner in government-led initiatives and expressed hope for continued collaboration to achieve the Philippines’ ambitions and address existing challenges.

“We hope that more resources and expertise are directed towards areas in which the Philippines is still in the process of building competency, such as up-levelling innovation- and science-based solutions, creating a sound business environment, enhancing climate and hazard resiliency, and other forward-looking projects that support our upper middle-income country ambition,” he said.

Notable among recent innovations in the UNCT’s programme implementation is the increase in joint programming among United Nations entities, a strategy that facilitates the pooling of capacities and resources towards shared priorities.

Mr. González emphasized that the briefing reflected the United Nations’ commitment to increased accountability, transparency, and coherence: “This is a strong attempt to ensure a more collaborative and integrated UN development system that enhances a whole-of-UN approach to all aspects of the development planning cycle.”

Reporting on 2023 UN results

At today’s briefing, Mr Gonzalez and heads of UN entities also provided a summary of the results of the final year of implementation of the United Nations Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework 2020-2023 (SEPF), the previous joint framework between the UN and the government. In 2023, the UN was the second largest source of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the Philippines with US$ 281.2 million in assistance, according to data from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

See the UN in the Philippines’ press release on the 2023 Annual Report and the main achievements last year.

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