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A tribute to global leadership |


A tribute to global leadership

Pia Hecita - The Philippine Star
A tribute to global leadership
Upon the invitation of Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda (right), former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) visited the Senate of the Philippines on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. Legarda, a UNDRR Global Champion for Resilience and UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan Champion, and Ban Ki-moon advocate for the same causes, such as climate justice, public health improvement, women empowerment, gender equality, poverty alleviation and sustainability. Along with Legarda in welcoming Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Ceremonial Hall of the Senate were (not in photo) Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Senator Imee Marcos, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, president of the Philippines-Korea Parliamentary Association.

MANILA, Philippines — Anotable tribute took place in the Philippine Senate last Feb. 27, as the country’s foremost environmental champion legislator, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, initiated a fitting homage to the remarkable legacy of the 8th Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. Through a Senate Resolution, principally authored and sponsored by Senator Legarda, the institution honored Ban’s dedication to rallying global leaders in addressing emerging challenges, advocating for the pleas of the world’s underprivileged and most marginalized communities.

“It is with humility that I note Secretary-General Ban’s alignment with many of the causes I have long championed, including climate justice, environmental protection, poverty alleviation, public health improvement, gender equality and human rights. It is an honor for me to sponsor this resolution, recognizing a global figure of such profound dedication and integrity,” Senator Legarda stated.

With the proactive efforts of Senator Legarda, her Office, and the Senate Secretariat, the visit of Secretary-General Ban was meticulously organized and executed, earning praise and appreciation from Ban Ki-moon personally.

The Philippine Senate adopted Senate Resolution No. 929, honoring the 8th United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who visited the Philippines on February 26-28, 2024 to discuss climate action and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In the photo are (from left) Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, who principally sponsored the Resolution, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Madame Yoo Soon-taek, and Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.

“Inviting may be easier than hosting and preparing all these. So my very deepest thanks. You cannot guarantee that your visit somewhere is always a success. I think that seven years after my retirement, this is the most successful,” Secretary-General Ban said to Senator Legarda.

“I was honored the most by the Senate. I know who made it possible—it is you who made it possible. Without your passion and the driving force and the politically significant leadership, it might not have happened. So I am returning with a full sense of achievement and pride,” he added.

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda delivered her sponsorship speech on Senate Resolution No. 929 at the Plenary on Feb. 27, honoring former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and commending his global contributions. In the Resolution, there is a clause dedicated to recognizing his urgency in helping the country’s recovery efforts after the hit of super-typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

Upon learning of Secretary-General Ban’s impending visit to the Philippines to address the Asian Development Bank’s Eminent Speakers’ Forum through a phone call made by the Korean Ambassador Lee Sang Hwa, Senator Legarda saw an opportune moment to invite the 8th UN Secretary-General to visit the Philippine Senate. Ambassador Lee saw a strong synergy between Senator Legarda and Secretary-General Ban, as their advocacies and initiatives aligned closely.

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda showed former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madame Yoo Soon-taek a copy of the Everyday Culture book as the senator brought them to “Buhay na Dunong: Bukal ng Sining” Schools of Living Traditions Exhibit in the Senate. The book, launched by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) through Legarda’s support, features different Schools for Living Traditions (SLT) of various cultural communities in the Philippines. Like Legarda, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also an advocate for the preservation and protection of cultural heritage. During his time as UN secretary-general, he addressed the importance of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge in fighting climate change.

As the UNDRR Global Champion for Resilience, UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan Champion, and Commissioner of the Global Commission on Adaptation, Senator Legarda has been at the forefront of championing resilience-building efforts and climate adaptation strategies.

Her dedication to these causes is evident in her legislative achievements and active participation in global environmental forums, where she helps shape policies for a greener future, earning her accolades from being a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum to being designated as a UNEP Laureate and an ASEAN Biodiversity Hero. Her role as the Women Political Leaders Global Ambassador for Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change and Environment underscores her comprehensive approach to addressing global challenges.

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, along with other Philippine senators, welcomed former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the latter’s visit to the Senate of the Philippines on Tuesday, Feb. 27. In the photo (from left): Dave Kim, head of Governance and Special Advisor to Ban Ki-moon, and the president of the Assembly and chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI); Dr. Jung Tae Yong, director of the Sustainable Development Program at the Ban Ki-moon Foundation for the Better Future; Lee Sang-hwa, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines; Kim Sook, Former Korean Ambassador to the United Nations; Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri; Legarda; Majority Leader Joel Villanueva; Senator Imee Marcos, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, president of the Philippines-Korea Parliamentary Association.

Secretary-General Ban’s visit also provided an opportunity to celebrate the Philippines’ partnership with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), an organization dedicated to promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

The concurrence of the Philippine Senate to the ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the GGGI for the establishment of the GGGI Office within the country during the Senate session on the same day as Secretary-General Ban’s resolution was adopted is a significant milestone in advancing sustainable development goals.

This swift ratification process is particularly noteworthy, as ratifying and concurring to treaties typically takes years. However, in the case of the GGGI Treaty, the entire process was completed remarkably in a short span of time.

Senator Legarda’s collaboration with Secretary-General Ban is evident through their dialogues on significant occasions, such as Secretary-General Ban’s visit to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan in 2015, and the virtual Climate Vulnerable Forum Global Parliamentarians Meeting during the pandemic in 2020. Their interactions emphasize the crucial role of working together in addressing global challenges.

Senator Legarda expressed admiration for Secretary-General Ban’s dedication to women’s rights and gender equality. He significantly advanced gender equality by establishing UN Women and it was during his tenure that more women were employed in the UN, setting new standards for gender inclusivity worldwide.

Senator Legarda emphasized the crucial role of women in driving progress, stating, “Women should be provided the needed support to have the confidence and wherewithal to lead and be at the forefront of efforts to improve communities and pursue initiatives that will contribute decisive actions towards the nation’s sustainable and equitable progress.”

In a gesture of Filipino hospitality, Senator Legarda welcomed Secretary-General Ban and his delegation to her home, offering them a taste of Filipino cuisine, from the savory flavors of laing and bagnet to the comforting warmth of tinolang manok and the delightful sweetness of halo-halo for the dessert.

Secretary-General Ban expressed gratitude for the warm reception and acknowledged the Philippines’ significant contributions to international initiatives like the GGGI, while the Senator noted that GGGI has enabled advancements in various fields including climate action, resilient agriculture, waste management, e-mobility, bioplastics and sustainable landscape management.

“I am grateful particularly to the GGGI whose Host Country Agreement has been ratified. It was done at lightning speed. I was personally honored and I was so very much thankful and satisfied with what you have done for us and we will work together just to make sure that our world will be more sustainable and more peaceful. That's my commitment not just as a former Secretary-General but more importantly as one of the global citizens,” Secretary-General Ban said.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to the Philippine Senate highlighted the importance of collaboration and collective action in addressing global challenges. The shared advocacies that Senator Legarda and Secretary-General Ban celebrated reaffirmed their dedication to creating a sustainable and resilient future.

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