UNDP and World Bank pledge support to Philippines peace process

May 7, 2013

Payuna Biano, 59, (far right) with four of her grand children live in a cramped crawlspace beneath a school in the southern Philippine town of Datu Piang in Maguindanao province. Biano and her family are among thousands still left displaced by 2008 fighting between Muslim separatist rebels and government forces. (Photo: Jason Gutierrez/IRIN)

Manila/New York — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Bank announced last week that they will offer a comprehensive support package to on-going peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a secessionist group in the south.

The scheme, drawn up in consultation with the Government, will help both sides to meet the terms of a landmark peace deal signed in October 2012. A key part of that agreement, which seeks to bring closure to a 15-year-old peace process, calls for replacing the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a new administrative body called The Bangsamoro.

The UN will assume full responsibility for the funds and a consultative transitional commission – made up of representatives from the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front – will determine which areas are given advice and support.

At the launch of the programme, UN Resident Coordinator Luiza Carvalho said the scheme will recruit national and international governance experts who will help the transition commission, made up of members from both sides, begin the critical work of establishing a new government as stipulated by the peace agreement.

The first step is the drafting of The Bangsamoro’s Basic Law, “which will reflect the Bansamoro people’s aspirations for genuine autonomy while establishing the basis for efficient and accountable government,” Carvalho said.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has so far put close to US$1 million into the support package and is working to raise the remaining $6 million that will be needed to provide experts who will help establish the Bangsamoro administration. The funds will go towards services that are essential to ensuring the terms of the agreement and long-term peace in the Philippines.

In addition to helping draft the Basic Law, advisors provided by UNDP and the World Bank will help set up the new autonomous administration, providing guidance to the transition commission in such areas as reform of the justice, court and security sectors. They will also provide advice on development and economic planning in post-conflict situations, natural resource management and how to establish fiscal and tax policies.

"Technical support from the UN and World Bank will give us access to ideas and practices that have been found successful in other parts of the world,” said Al Haj Murad, Chairman of the Liberation Front. “It will help us reach out to communities and facilitate local dialogue and consultation to secure broader ownership and help us draft the best possible Basic Law."

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