The growing concern of climate change, discontinued use of nuclear and other weapons, food security, and a reformed Security Council were the highlights of the address of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr during the 77th United Nations General Assembly today, 21 September 2022.
Marcos Jr., delivered his address before world leaders, in a speech that drew parallels and similarities to the one given by his father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr during the 1966, exactly 56 years ago today.
The senior Marcos’ speech addressed among other things the need for the dismantlement of nuclear weapons, as well as stronger actions from the Security Council for proactive measures to mitigate conflict. The senior Marcos’ 1966 speech also highlighted the widening gap between the rich and the poor, as well as strengthening avenues to ensure the poor countries would have access to resources.
Similarly, Bongbong Marcos raised similar issues, adding a new one, climate change calling it the “greatest threat affecting our nations and peoples”.
He also called the effects of climate change injustice since those with the least carbon footprint suffer the most, as countries like the Philippines has the least emission but is most affected by its neighbors.
While Marcos the father talked of closing the gap between the rich and the poor, Bongbong also called to do the same as he said that “widening geopolitical polarities” had been made evident when the pandemic struck, as richer nations immediately have access to vaccines compared to their poorer counterparts.
Marcos Jr. also highlighted sustainability, as he called for “solutions that preserve our planet”. He further called for investments in food security, calling the condition “fragile” as demonstrated by the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine.
“We need to take concrete steps towards a modern and resilient agriculture. For food is not just a trade commodity nor a livelihood. It is an existential imperative. and a moral one. It is the very basis of human security,” Marcos said.
Marcos, like his father before him, also called on the dismantlement of nuclear weapons as these “continue to pose an existential threat despite our efforts to build norms that resoundingly prohibit them”
“We must reject the notion of deterrence and remain committed to decreasing the global stockpile of these weapons. At the same time, we must also address the scourge of the proliferation of all weapons, be they small arms, light weapons, or improvised explosive devices,” he said, adding, “Our work must also focus on ensuring that the international system remains fair not only for all states, but more importantly for all peoples. This system must work for the most vulnerable, especially the marginalized, migrants and refugees. The world has witnessed the enduring contribution of migrants in the fight against this pandemic.”
Marcos further called for a “reformed and more inclusive Security Council and an empowered General Assembly that can hold the Council to account”.
“My country’s experiences in building peace and forging new paths of cooperation can enrich the work of the Security Council. And to this end, I appeal for the valuable support of all UN Member States for the Philippines’ candidature to the Security Council for the term 2027-2028,” he said, as he cited their success in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the south of the Philippines as “the centerpiece of these efforts”.
He further called to harness the development of advanced technologies that could lead to rapid transformation of human lives and experience.
“We still barely understand how these transformations are unfolding and where they are leading. The imminent diffusion of these emerging technologies could solve many of our old problems, but they could also disrupt our political and social orders. Our governance structures must keep up,” he said.
Finally, he exhorted world leaders to saying the “world is ready” for its transformation.
“It is up to us as leaders of our nations, to move and shape that transformation. The future beckons and we can embark upon that journey as single nations or as a world in harmony. I say let the challenges of one people be the challenges for all nations. And in that way the success of one will be a success for us all,” he said, adding, “The peoples of the world look to their leaders, to us, to make into reality these aspirations for our future. We must not fail them. And if we stand together, we will not fail them. If we stand together, we can only succeed. Let us dream, let us work for those successes for all our nations, united!”