UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, HLPF 2023– Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo Jose A. de Vega, as Head of the Philippine Delegation to the 2023 UN High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development, welcomed the dedicated session for middle-income countries (MICs) in the Forum as a step in the right direction. For the first time since the HLPF had its first session in 2013, HLPF 2023 had a dedicated session on MICs with the theme “Overcoming middle-income countries’ challenges in advancing the 2030 Agenda.”
Amidst the challenges faced by MICs, the most pressing issue of which are tight fiscal space and high external debt, Undersecretary de Vega stressed that the international community can best support MICs by bolstering development cooperation to be more purposive to the needs of developing countries, including middle-income countries; tailoring support in line with national priorities; and building on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC).
The Undersecretary called for increased efforts to advance innovation solutions that can unlock SDG investments; and ensure an inclusive and people-centered national digital transformation.
In this regard, he highlighted some of the Philippine government’s initiatives, such as the Philippine Identification System Act which is considered an initial step towards digitalization and financial inclusion; the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitive Act of 2022 which provides for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach for upskilling, reskilling and training of Filipino workforce; and SDG Watch which is considered one of the robust SDG monitoring mechanism among countries in the Asia Pacific.
At the sidelines of HLPF 2023, Undersecretary de Vega also served as a panelist at an event on “SDG9 in Middle-Income Countries: Accelerating the achievement of the 2030 Agenda,” co-organized by UNIDO and the Like-minded Group of Countries supporters of Middle-Income Countries (LMG-MICs).
Undersecretary de Vega as a panelist at the side-event on SDG9 for MICs, with Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo
He shared the Philippine strategies and priorities on industrialization, innovation, digitalization and resilient infrastructure, including the National Innovation and Strategy Document 2023-2028 and the 4th Industrial Revolution roadmap. He also highlighted again the role of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, and of migrants and migration in capacity and resilience building.
Undersecretary de Vega also reiterated the country’s support for discussions in reforming the development cooperation mechanism and the international financial architecture.
The HLPF is held annually at the UN Headquarters and is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development. It has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level.