PBBM at UNGA | Marcos flags climate change, ‘geopolitical polarities and sharpening strategic competitions’ among biggest risks to people

IN his first-ever engagement with the United Nations, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. called for harnessing new technology and international cooperation to stop climate change and other global threats.

Speaking in person during the High-Level Debate of the 77th UN General Assembly last Tuesday (New York time), Marcos said climate change is now the “greatest threat” for the international community.

Scientific experts have attributed climate change to extreme weather such as long droughts and super typhoons, which are now devastating many parts of the world.

“There is no other problem so global in nature that it requires a united effort, one led by the United Nations,” Marcos said . 

He noted international solidarity will be crucial for holitistic water water conservation and biodiversity protection amid the challenges posed by climate change.  

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. introduced himself as “Ferdinand Marcos” in his first speech before the UN, omitting the extension of his name “Junior.”

“Mister President, Excellencies. I am Ferdinand Marcos, and I am the President of the Republic of the Philippines,” Marcos Jr. opened his speech during the General Debate of  the 77th Session at the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly Wednesday 3am (Philippine time). 

The presiding officer of the UNGA introduced him as “Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, President of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Most leaders who spoke at the same session did not mention their names during their speech after being introduced by the UNGA President. In the past two speeches of President Duterte in the UNGA delivered virtually, Duterte also did not state his name in the introduction.

DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza told Business Mirror that the DFA drafted the speech of the President but the final draft was approved by Malacañang. “As for the part about his introduction, you have to ask Malacañang,” she said.

Lead by example

In his statement at UNGA, Marcos said industrialized nations “should lead by example” by immediately cutting down their greenhouse gas emissions as stipulated in their obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

The nations, he said, should also extend climate financing and technology transfer for adaptation for the most vulnerable  and developing countries, including Philippines. 

“The Philippines, for example, is a net carbon sink, we absorb more carbon dioxide than we emit. And yet, we are the 4th most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change,” Marcos said. 

He said he hopes the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt in Nov. will yield “concrete steps” to stop the said “collective disaster.”

“We must seek solutions that preserve our planet.  These solutions must transcend our time and win the future for the succeeding generations,” Marcos said. 

UN role 

Aside from climate change, Marcos warned of the threat posed by “geopolitical polarities and sharpening strategic competitions,” which have even led to violations of the UN charter. 

He said the UN must stand firm on its ideals and continue to facilitate the peaceful resolution of these conflicts.

“These behoove us to uphold the ideals that led to the establishment of this parliament of nations, and to reject any attempt to deny or redefine our common understanding  of these principles,” Marcos said. 

He also noted existing inequalities and inequities among countries still persist, which was worsened by the “digital divide and ballooning debt burdens” in some countries.  

The UN could also serve as a venue to correct such “injustice,” which became more apparent during the pandemic, “when the richer nations immediately received vaccines at the expense of the have-nots.” 

Fair international system 

Addressing the issues will require the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal and making cutting-edge technology accessible to more people, according to Marcos.   

“We need to reaffirm the wisdom of the founders of our United Nations. This means transcending our differences and committing  to ending war, upholding justice, respecting human rights, and maintaining international peace and security,” Marcos said. 

“Our work must also focus on ensuring that the international system remains fair not only for all states, but more importantly for all peoples,” he added. 

Marcos was accompanied by First Lady Maria Louise Araneta Marcos, Ilocos Norte Rep.  Ferdinand  Alexander “Sandro” A. Marcos and House Speaker Martin G. Romualdez, when he delivered his 21-minute speech at the UN Headquarters.  With a report by Malou Talosig-Bartolome

Image credits: AP/Jason DeCrow