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Philippines seeks closer, effective partnerships in Asia-Pacific

Pia Lee Brago - The Philippine Star
Philippines seeks closer, effective partnerships in Asia-Pacific
In his remarks at the Second World Ocean Summit in Singapore, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo highlighted the Philippine government’s priorities toward the vision of a stable and secure future for all Filipinos, which include food and energy security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, regional and global peace, all inextricably linked to the maritime space.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines called for closer and more effective partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region to ensure that oceans remain zones of peace and prosperity for the benefit of present and future generations.

In his remarks at the Second World Ocean Summit in Singapore, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo highlighted the Philippine government’s priorities toward the vision of a stable and secure future for all Filipinos, which include food and energy security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, regional and global peace, all inextricably linked to the maritime space.

The summit covered sustainable ocean economy with sessions on governance, climate change, finance, supply chains, innovation and technology, shipping, tourism, fishing and aquaculture.

Manalo also outlined the government’s key efforts on environmental and marine protection, ocean governance and sustainable development.

He said these efforts reflect consistent and concrete action of the government against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; innovations on sustainable aquaculture; enhancement of maritime transport in view of the country’s status as largest provider of the global seafaring workforce and the fourth-largest shipbuilder in the world; adoption of a National Plan of Action for the prevention, reduction and management of Marine Litter to achieve “zero waste in Philippine waters by 2040,” and the recently passed legislation introducing extended producer responsibility on plastic packaging waste.

The two-day summit brought together ocean leaders for a discussion on the most critical topics and reflections on how to ensure that the Asia Pacific remains at the heart of the global ocean conversation.

The World Ocean Summit is an annual global event which brings together the widest cross-section of the ocean community from business and finance to governments, national and international policymakers, civil society and academia.

The 10th Annual World Ocean Summit and Expo, with the theme, “Inspiring Oceans Solutions” will be held on Feb. 27 to March 1, 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Constructive  engagement

Meanwhile, the Philippines underscored the importance of constructive engagement with the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) that fully respects the role of the state as a sovereign duty bearer.

Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva Evan Garcia shared his observations on current dynamics in the HRC during a dialogue of ASEAN Permanent Representatives in Geneva with newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Nov. 29.

Garcia joined the other ASEAN permanent representatives in the dialogue.

With Cambodia as chair of the ASEAN Committee in Geneva, the ASEAN Permanent Representatives and Türk exchanged views on progress and challenges in human rights promotion and protection in the ASEAN region, engagement and cooperation of ASEAN members states with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and potential areas of cooperation, including capacity building and technical assistance.

Garcia noted that the Philippines has recently undergone major reviews on its compliance with international human rights obligations, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child in September and International Convention on Civil and Political Rights in October this year.

The Philippines also underwent the 4th cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the HRC where the government accepted 200 recommendations on various human rights issues.

The ambassador noted that the United Nations Joint Program on Human Rights is an example of such an approach to human rights action and meant to support national initiatives, including the ongoing law enforcement and justice reforms being undertaken by the Department of Justice.

He said that the Philippines is one of the pilot countries for the OHCHR’s National Recommendations Tracking Database, which is hoped to enhance the capacity of government agencies to monitor and implement human rights recommendations arising from the UPR and constructive dialogues with treaty bodies.

Garcia reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to work closely with the OHCHR on issues of common interest within the framework of ASEAN and in its national capacity.

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