This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN), the world’s most renowned intergovernmental organization. The UN is now convening its annual General Assembly at its Headquarters in New York City until September 30, 2020.
The theme for this year’s General Assembly is “The future we want, the UN we need: Reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism” in response to the global impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN has called for solidarity among nations and a “whole-of-the-world approach” as the international community faces one of the most devastating global crises of the 21st century.
During this very trying time, Taiwan has been able to successfully contain the spread of the COVID-19, with around 509 confirmed cases and seven deaths, through its proactive and timely approach without having to resort to drastic measures or lockdowns. Taiwan was also quick to respond to the needs of other countries through the donation of countless medical equipment and supplies. By the end of June, it had already donated 51 million surgical masks, 1.16 million N95 masks, 600,000 isolation gowns, 35,000 forehead thermometers, and other medical materials to more than 80 countries. Taiwan has proven itself to be one of the most valuable global partners in combating the COVID-19. However, despite its willingness to take part and to share its experiences in combating the pandemic, Taiwan remains excluded from the UN system due to political consideration and China’s constant objection.
The UN has “pledged to leave no one behind as the world looks to recover from the pandemic” while it continuously works to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is therefore ironic that this vision does not include Taiwan, a vibrant model of democracy and a model for handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN’s discriminatory policy against Taiwan has prevented the country from making significant contributions to the welfare of the international community and providing valuable information to the UN system and its members.
Despite the years of discrimination and isolation, Taiwan is always ready and willing to lend a helping hand wherever it is needed. Taiwan is also playing a major role in spearheading development-centered initiatives that are very much in line with the SDGs. Through its partnerships with many other countries and organizations, Taiwan has joined forces with like-minded democracies, including the Philippines, to explore the development of COVID-19 vaccines. With a positive economic projection, coupled with its proven pandemic response and the resilience to showcase its value as a global stakeholder, Taiwan is willing and able to join hands with the global community in facing current and future challenges.
Taiwan and the Philippines are close neighbors and long-standing partners. We share an abundance of similarities and uphold the values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. Therefore, we urge all of our Filipino brothers and sisters to voice out your support for Taiwan’s equal and dignified participation in the UN system and its related meetings, mechanisms and activities related to the implementation of the UN SDGs.
The world needs the spirit of collaboration, once again we call on the United Nations to take prompt action to accept Taiwan’s 23.5 million people into its fold so as to create a brighter, more inclusive, and more sustainable post-pandemic era.
Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping!
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines