Top UN official discusses natural disasters economic crisis with Filipino leader

22 October 2009The top United Nations official in Asia and the Pacific and the leader of the Philippines today discussed how the country is coping in the aftermath of a series of deadly storms, as well as the region’s response to the ongoing financial crisis. In their meeting, Noeleen Heyzer lauded President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for her leadership in helping victims of the storms which battered the country last month.Tropical storm Ketsana (also known as Ondoy) and typhoon Parma, which struck within a week of each other, led to more than 500 deaths and displaced scores of thousands of others, and caused crop damage estimated at over $160 million.The President expressed her gratitude to the UN for its financial and technical support to the Government in the relief and recovery efforts.Ms. Heyzer, the Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), also briefed Ms. Arroyo on the Commission’s role in coordinating the regional response to the financial crisis.She also paid tribute to the President’s leadership in maintaining macroeconomic stability in the Philippines to lessen the effects of the crisis.In addition, she recognized the President’s efforts in advancing the cause of women, noting the recent passage of the Magna Carta of Women – a comprehensive women’s rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of Filipino women, especially those in the marginalized sectors.During her first official visit to the Philippines as head of ESCAP, Ms. Heyzer also addressed the Asia-Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing+15, which began today in Quezon City.She told the more than 500 delegates that although overall progress has been uneven 15 years after the Fourth World Conference on Women, which took place in the Chinese capital in 1995, Asia and the Pacific has led the way in shaping how governments integrate a gender perspective into economic and social development programmes.Noting some of the region’s achievements, she cited an increase in women’s representation in the political and decision-making processes in many countries, as well as action to combat violence against women.“These changes happened because of the unswerving commitment of millions of women and men who share a vision of more equitable societies, where daughters have the same chances as sons, where women live safe from violence, poverty and discrimination,” said Ms. Heyzer. read more

Read More »