NEW YORK CITY – The Philippines joined more than 150 United Nations (UN) member states in support of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and pushed for urgent action to combat climate change and its impact.

“If we are to achieve our development goals, we need to take urgent action to combat climate change,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan during the closing session of the 70th UN General Assembly on September 27, 2015 at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA.

“As president of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, and as one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, we will also work in the upcoming Paris Conference to ensure that we adopt a new legally binding climate agreement, that is universal and equitable,” he said.

Balisacan emphasized the need to put in place climate change adaptation and mitigation measures particularly in the local levels and increase investments towards a climate resilient economy.

“We have seen extreme weather disturbances occurring with greater frequency and intensity. These calamities can negate our gains in reducing poverty, and even push back development,” he noted.

He also expressed the country’s appreciation of the emphasis placed on the SDGs’ Goal 14 to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

“Enshrining this as a global agenda obliges the community of nations to seriously acknowledge challenges to conservation, such as destruction due to massive reclamation as a common concern. These challenges need to be collectively addressed using a rules-based approach in international law as reflected in UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” Balisacan said.

Furthermore, he welcomed the inclusion of Philippine priorities in the 2030 Agenda, including collective action for conservation, vulnerabilities, and inequality of opportunities.

“There’s no true development if inequalities arising from lack of access to opportunities by the most vulnerable remain. We aspire to achieve education for all, universal health coverage, food security, and social and economic inclusion supported by quality infrastructure,” Balisacan said.

The Cabinet official also recognized the potential of the 2030 Agenda to continue the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals, as it is now embedded in the more ambitious and comprehensive SDGs comprised of 17 goals and 169 targets.

Moreover, Balisacan called on the other world leaders to mainstream migration in the development process, reduce remittance costs, and fully respect the human rights of migrants.

He likewise noted the pressing need to address maternal and reproductive health to accelerate the fulfillment of women’s human rights and the demand to strengthen the capacities of statistical agencies to make official statistics more disaggregated, frequent, timely, and accessible.

To meet the financial and technical requirements of the SDGs, the Philippines sought partnerships for expanding access to resources for domestic resource mobilization capacity-building, leveraging private sector participation, and achieving resiliency.

“To move forward and achieve the overarching goal of eradicating poverty, we must now develop our national plans and budgets for its (SDGs) implementation and monitoring. In doing so, we will collaborate with civil society and all stakeholders in line with the principle of inclusiveness and accountability,” Balisacan said.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda will define international, regional and national development agenda priorities over the next 15 years. It pronounced the SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, which aim to eradicate poverty, hunger and inequality, take action on climate change and the environment, improve access to health and education, and build strong institutions and partnerships, among others.