24 October 2016 — The Government of the Philippines and the United Nations (UN) kicked off this year’s UN Day celebration in the country by highlighting 71 years of partnership and reiterating their shared commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The Philippines and the UN have made great strides together in surmounting some of the most complex humanitarian and development challenges. While we look back and celebrate our successes, we also look forward and stand even more committed to work hand in hand toward achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren said at the UN Day observance jointly led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and UN.

The Philippines is one the founding members of the UN. Along with 49 other countries, it was among the first signatories of the UN Charter in June 1945. In the 71 years that have passed since then, the Philippines has been a very active member of the United Nations, contributing to peace and security, development and humanitarian action at the global level. In the Philippines, the partnership has led to a reduction in the percentage of Filipino families living below poverty and malaria-related deaths by half. The number of undernourished households, underweight children and the mortality rate of children under five have also decreased significantly, while access to safe drinking water has reached 80 percent.In more recent decades, UN and the Government have been tackling humanitarian crises, strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities and fighting climate change.

“The Philippines shall continue to engage the international community within the framework of the guiding principles of the UN and according to its time-honored processes and protocols,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay. “In turn, the UN must continue to be an important platform through which nations can think through our common challenges and problems and act collectively for effective measures and solutions. Furthermore, we see the need to free ourselves from double standards, which only leave the weak at the mercy of the strong,” he further added.

71 years, 17 global goals

In a symbolic football kick with Philippine Azkals members Aly Borromeo, James Younghusband and Phil Younghusband, Secretary Yasay and Mr. Almgrenplaced the spotlight on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.Since its adoption by 193 UN member states in September of 2015, this global agenda has been driving international commitment to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

“What we have signed up for is to hand over a better world to the next generation. If we achieve the goals by 2030, all Filipinos will have adequate nutritious and affordable food and better opportunities for education. They can live healthier and more prosperous lives, have better assets within reach such as energy, forests, coastal resources. They will live in communities safe from armed conflict and climate change. Both men and women will have equal access to all these, and they will have the power to ensure that these resources will continue to benefit future generations,” Mr. Almgren said.

The UN Day event was held at the SM Mall of Asia on 24 October 2016 and was graced by senior government and UN officials, diplomats and dignitaries. It featured performances and appearances by UN celebrity ambassador and advocate KC Conception and Daphne Oseña-Paez, and celebrity guests Antoinette Taus and Gab Alipe of Urbandub. News anchor Lexi Schulze was the master of ceremonies.

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