Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Lourdes O. Yparraguirre, shares the story of Filipino women’s participation in the peace process in the Southern Philippines
11 May 2016, New York – Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Lourdes O. Yparraguirre, highlighted the key role played by Filipino women in the peace process in Mindanao.
The Philippine Ambassador was invited to speak on the Philippines’ experiences as regards the participation of women in peace processes at a side event held at the sidelines of the High-Level Thematic Debate on UN, Peace and Security.
The event has for its theme, “Women and Mediation: Experiences in Ensuring Wider Participation of Women in Peace Processes”, and was co-organized by the Philippines, South Africa, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland.
Ambassador Yparraguirre was joined by Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, Iceland’s Foreign Minister Lilja Alfredsdottir, and H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly.
“The Philippine Constitution recognizes the role of women in nation-building and ensures the fundamental equality of men and women before the law. Since 2006 when the World Economic Forum first published the Global Gender Gap Report, the Philippines has consistently been ranked in the top 10 for gender equality. In this light, we are cognizant of our achievements in gender equality while we continue to work to improve our programs to completely close the remaining gaps,” Ambassador Yparraguirre said.
She stressed that women’s participation in the peace process in Southern Philippines was a conscious decision and a commitment on the part of the Philippine Government and the two negotiating panels to ensure women had a voice in securing an enduring peace in Mindanao.
She also highlighted the role played by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Secretary Teresita Deles.
“(The Comprehensive Peace Agreement on the Bangsamoro) is also historic because it is the first agreement of its kind in the world to bear the signature of a woman as Chief Negotiator and the signatures of a total of three women, including one Muslim woman. These women peace negotiators accounted for one-half of the negotiating panel of the Government and about one-fourth of the total number of peace agreement signatories. Women comprised 70 percent of the Secretariat of the Government Panel, including its head, and 60 percent of the legal team, including its head,” she elaborated.
Ambassador Yparraguirre also said that the Philippines’ commitment to women’s participation and contribution to peace goes way back to women’s organizing and electoral politics in the 1980s maturing to legislative lobbying in the 1990s and in the new millennium.
The side event on Women and Mediation had distinguished panelists including Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, Iceland’s Foreign Minister Lilja Alfredsdottir, and H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly
“All these planted the seeds, the infrastructure, for the adoption of the Philippines’ National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security in 2010 – the first country in Asia to adopt a national policy pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820,” she said,
The Philippines’ NAP was initiated by civil society advocates and rests on four pillars, consisting of two targeted outputs – briefly identified as (1) Protection and Prevention, and (2) Empowerment and Participation; and two cross-cutting support processes – namely, (1) Promotion and Mainstreaming, and (2) Monitoring and Evaluation.
The Philippine Ambassador said the success story of Filipino women vis-à-vis the peace processes has been, and will be, a collective effort among the government and the civil society in ensuring that the National Action Plan on women, peace and security will endure and more importantly, make a difference in the Filipino people’s lives. END