Philippine event marks milestone in the promotion of women, peace and security

Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020

Author: Maricel Aguilar

Female members of the security sector participating in the launch of the Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in Cotabato City.  Photo: UN Women/ Louie Pacardo
Female members of the security sector participating in the launch of the Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in Cotabato City. Photo: UN Women/Louie Pacardo

Manila, Philippines — UN Women celebrated the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security (WPS), bringing together women and gender advocates in the Philippines.

The Philippines was the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to adopt a National Action Plan on WPS.

The event on 28 October was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar brought together more than 100 gender and peace advocates, and was viewed online by more than 1,600 people. In partnership with the Philippine NGO Women Engaged in Action 1325 (WEACT 1325), the event showcased the work and resilience of civil society in responding to the issues and concerns of women and girls in armed conflict, violent extremism and more recently, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in conflict- and post-conflict areas. Among the work shared by civil society organizations are the areas of protecting and preventing violence against women and girls in conflict- and post-conflict situations, empowering women in conflict prevention, mediation, resolution and peacebuilding mechanisms and processes, and addressing issues and concerns of women in relief, recovery and rehabilitation.

Norwegian Ambassador Bjørn Jahnsen said: “The failure to include women and integrate women’s needs, rights and priorities is not only unjust but makes our efforts less effective.” The Government of Norway is a key supporter of UN Women’s work on UNSCR 1325 in the Philippines.

The resident coordinator of the UN in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez echoed this sentiment. “We have long-standing evidence of women’s catalytic role in peace and security,” he said. “It is time not to just recognize this role but transform it into an act of justice – through concrete policies, practices, approaches, actions and institutions.”

One such concrete policy is the first Regional Action Plan on WPS (RAP WPS) under the new Bangsamoro political entity, recently developed by the Bangsamoro Women Commission with support from UN Women. The plan was launched on 30 October in Cotabato City, the regional capital of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The RAP WPS, adapting to the current context, will address gender concerns in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic such as in the areas of economic recovery and community trust. It also requires gender and development plans of Bangsamoro ministries and offices, including the Parliament, to include considerations relating to women and girls in conflict-affected and post-conflict areas.

The Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC) presents the content of the RAP WPS during its launch in Maguindanao, 30 October 2020. Photo: UN Women/ Louie Pacardo
The Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC) presents the content of the RAP WPS during its launch in Maguindanao, 30 October 2020. Photo: UN Women/ Louie Pacardo

Remarking on the extraordinary achievement of this first RAP WPS, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Regional Director Mohammad Naciri congratulated the BARMM Government. “We have always supported the gender and peace work in the Philippines, and we know that we can do more together,” he said. “We need concrete commitment – such as legislation, policies and resources – to make national and regional plans on women, peace and security real.”

The event produced collaborative and actionable recommendations from participants to continue to fulfil the objectives of UNSCR 1325, captured in an outcome document. These recommendations will be drawn upon by the Philippine government and civil society organizations at the national, regional and local levels in the updating of its action plans on women, peace and security into the years to come