Metro Manila, 9 Nov 2020 – In a virtual signing ceremony, Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Bjørn Staurset Jahnsen, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines Resident Representative, Dr. Selva Ramachandran, launched a new partnership to support the peace-building and conflict mediation capacities of women and the active engagement of youth in the Bangsamoro region.
With the agreement, Norway and UNDP Philippines will work together with the BARMM government to revitalize the Bangsamoro Women’s Commission (BWC) and the Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC) through various capacity-building initiatives.
Among the objectives of the new Norway-UNDP partnership is to provide support to women’s engagement in preventing violence and violent extremism in their communities. The partnership also targets to strengthen the capacities of community-based women leaders and peace builders in promoting peace and development and in conflict mediation and negotiations, and to establish the Web Platform for Women’s Rapid Action and Mobilization Platform or RAMP.
The partnership will allow for the development and implementation of a regional plan on youth, peace, and security by the Bangsamoro Youth Commission, and the involvement of indigenous leaders in resolving horizontal violence. The initiative also aims to foster a more active participation of the youth in the Bangsamoro through the Bangsamoro Youth Volunteer Program in partnership with the BYC.
“The Philippines is one of Norway’s priority countries for cooperation on women, peace and security. We will continue supporting peace initiatives such as inclusion of women and the youth in peace dialogues for lasting and sustainable peace” said Ambassador Jahnsen in his remarks.
Dr. Ramachandran, in turn, highlighted that “UNDP and Norway share a long and sustained joint commitment to peace and development in the Philippines and around the world. The launch of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region provides a renewed opportunity to jointly advance inclusion and civic participation in peacebuilding through the capacity-development and engagement of women and the youth.”
In the Philippines, Norway has assisted the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) which is in charge of decommissioning combatants following the peace agreement between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.
UNDP has had the opportunity to work closely with Norway in assisting the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB). Through technical and operational assistance, UNDP has also worked directly with the government and the MILF since 2012 to bring about the peace agreement in 2014, and thereafter the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and its implementation since 2018.
In their respective contributions, as well as in their joint work, Norway and UNDP have built a strong commitment to inclusion, and especially to the roles and process of women, youth, and indigenous persons in peacemaking and peacebuilding especially in the Bangsamoro region.