Tue. Oct 26th, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte will participate in the high-level general debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Sept. 21 to 27.

(photo courtesy: http://www.pna.gov.ph)

This will be Duterte’s second attendance to the high-level general debate of the international body. He first addressed the UNGA last year.

“The President will speak on the first day of the High-Level General Debate on 21 September 2021 within the 1600H-1800H window, New York time (22 September 2021 between 0400H and 0600H, Philippine Standard Time),” a statement from his office said on Sunday.

The Office of the President said among topics that will be addressed are Philippine positions on global issues of key concern namely universal access to Covid-19 vaccines, climate change, human rights, including the situation of migrant workers and refugees, and international and regional security developments.

The High-Level General Debate will be presided over by Abdulla Shahid of Maldives, the incoming president of the 76th UNGA.

It will follow a hybrid format of in-person and virtual attendance of delegates, in view of the evolving situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UNGA is the main deliberating organ of the UN where all the 193 member-states are represented.

The session’s theme this year is: “Building resilience through hope – to recover from Covid-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations.”

During the 75th session of the UNGA in September 2020, Duterte stressed that access to safe and effective vaccines should be made available to all, “rich and poor nations alike”.

He said the Covid-19 vaccine “must be considered a global public good” in joining the collective voice of partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Duterte raised the 2016 arbitral decision against China’s extensive claim in the South China Sea before the UN for the first time since he assumed office more than four years ago.

Also mentioned were the protection of migrant workers and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Duterte also brought up Climate change, human rights, terrorism, nuclear weapons, refugee crisis, peacekeeping missions, and commitment to multilateralism.

His roughly 20-minute maiden speech was praised by current and former Cabinet members and government officials as well as critics.

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