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21 March 2015 - The ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) held a workshop to strengthen women’s participation in peace processes and conflict resolution in Cebu City from March 18 to 19.

The workshop aimed to highlight the level of women’s participation in peace processes and conflict resolution in the region and raise awareness of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and existing National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security (WPS).

The event was organized by the Philippine Permanent Mission to ASEAN, headed by Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, Philippine Permanent Representative of the ASEAN and member of the AIPR Governing Council. It was attended by members of the AIPR Governing Council, Ambassadors of ASEAN Member States to ASEAN, Ambassadors of Japan and Norway to ASEAN, the ASEAN Secretariat and representatives from all ASEAN Member States as well as Philippine Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs and ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Leader Evan P. Garcia. The workshop was supported by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund 2.0 (JAIF 2.0) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

The workshop was graced by Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Philippine Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Member of the AIPR Advisory Board, who appealed “for your support to call upon your leaders, be they in government or in the private realm – and all your great communities for that matter – to stand for our dream of the Bangsamoro.”

In her keynote address, Secretary Deles emphasized that “the voice of ASEAN has always been important for all generations of Filipinos.  This is true whether we speak of human progress or human security. ASEAN has been the repository of our most ardent aspirations forged in deep commonalities of culture, identity, and ways of transformation.”

At the end of the two-day workshop, participants made the following recommendations: (1) AIPR should continue to provide a platform to discuss women’s participation in peace processes and conflict resolution; (2) AIPR should organize trainings and workshops for women to become peace mediators; (3) AIPR should consider organizing an ASEAN network of women on peace and security, including a pool of experts on peace mediation; and (4) AIPR should consider establishing a “knowledge hub” of resources related to peace.

The meeting expressed support to the Mindanao peace process.

The workshop also raised the possibility of AIPR establishing a closer link with UN Women, which is in line with the implementation of the ASEAN-UN Plan of Action to strengthen ASEAN-UN relations.

Speakers and presenters included peace practitioners from ASEAN, Norway, Australia and the UN, sharing their experiences and unique points of view as peace negotiators, mediators, facilitators, peace researchers and peace activists. 

Before the workshop, the 4th AIPR Governing Council Meeting was also held in Cebu City on March 17.  The AIPR Governing Council is expected to discuss the recommendations of the workshop at its next meeting within the year. END