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“Promoting Conflict Prevention – Empowering All Actors Including Women and Youth”

Wednesday, 13 March 2024
.E. MS. MARIA ANTONIA YULO-LOYZAGA, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources
UN Security Council Chamber


Thank you, Mr. President.

We congratulate Japan for its presidency of the Security Council this month. It is difficult to think of another nation more qualified to preside over this open debate. Especially on a subject that cries for humane thinking to arrive at solutions — sometimes tentative but never final because each life lost is irreplaceable. In life and death situations, the only decent choice is to protect the first and avoid the second.

Advocacy for Collaboration and Rule-Based Order

The Philippines has always stood for a rules-based order where reason rules and compassion prevails. Our active participation in ASEAN and other global partnerships underscores our dedication to multilateralism and the primacy of international law.

We believe honest and strategic collaboration is essential to assisting conflict-affected countries, the peaceful settlement of international disputes, and strengthening resilience in facing security risks.

Women are at the core of this mission. The art of peacemaking begins at home and comes out of the hands of women. Those who work hardest on anything have the strongest commitment to protecting and making them work. Those who make and sustain families know best what is good at the expense of no one in the family. Extend this farther and we are here under one roof in the home of the family of nations and peoples called the United Nations.

Hence, we also look forward to the Summit of the Future in September and the 2025 review of the UN peacebuilding architecture. This includes the strengthening and updating the UN toolbox for prevention of conflict and its recurrence, with Women, Peace and Security and Youth, Peace and Security perspectives, as highlighted by the Secretary-General in the New Agenda for Peace.

BARMM: Peace is Possible

When a nation like the Philippines, that’s always championed peace and peacemaking when war breaks out, joins a foreign fray, it is less to fight on the parlous side of good than protect innocent lives and secure communities. We did peacekeeping in Africa, Haiti, and the Middle East — always with unfailing courage and proper behavior. At the end of the Vietnam War, we welcomed all who had braved the sea in small boats to begin rebuilding their lives on our shores.

We note the key roles played in refugee centers frequently managed by women. As a nation championing peacebuilding and sustaining peace, our success in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in the Southern Philippines is the centerpiece of our experience in building peace and forging new paths of cooperation.

This process was founded on the understanding of the intersectionality of vulnerability, the recognition of opportunities for shared gains through strategic interventions, the value of institutionalizing this convergence for social cohesion and sustainable development — and of jointly realizing the intergenerational value of peace.

Women contributed greatly to the success of the BARMM. They were negotiators, researchers, educators and community organizers. We forged the BARMM across more than half a century of fighting between warring factions and clansmen — against an inclusive democracy. Peace is possible and patience pays. They are the best way forward with the least hurt and loss. Compassion as strategy lays the strongest foundation for lasting peace after bitter conflict. There is no fresh reason to look back in anger.

The BARMM process, while demonstrating our respect for distinct security mandates and our commitment to holistic development, stands today in full support of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. We hope to engage with the Peacebuilding Commission to share our experiences as we continue our journey towards a sustainable peace through conflict prevention, equity, and human dignity always without fail.

Peacekeeping for sustainable peace

The role of the Security Council in forging peace is at its most critical today when the risk of political, cultural and resource conflicts is compounded by the complexities of digital interconnectedness and the impacts of climate change.

It must advance the enabling participation of all actors in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts through collaboration between the peacekeeping and political missions, while bridging the mandates other UN agencies and beyond. These efforts must translate into early warnings of potential conflicts, concrete preventive actions, and transition plans for peace operations ahead of their withdrawals.

When a nation is at war with itself and contending domestic forces cannot rise to the right solution, UN Peacekeepers have done so; if not to end a conflict with a lasting peace, then to lessen civilian casualties. Their presence halts the escalating violence; they usually pay the price for it. UN Peacekeeping can freeze a situation and buy time for both sides to reflect if their differences justify their losses; and if a settlement could be acceptable without eliminating the other side. Not all bullets fired hit their target. But all bullets without fail take a toll on the prospect of peace by increasing the passion for reckoning.


Since 1963, the Philippines has been committed to UN peacekeeping operations. We wish to increase our footprint with more professional peacekeepers on the ground; most especially highly trained women peacekeepers with nothing to prove and much compassion to share. This is our commitment to inclusive, intergenerational, and lasting peace. As partner, pathfinder, and peacemaker, the Philippines is ready to bring our experiences and insights to the Security Council, to demonstrate a focused and effective approach to peace and security challenges.

Thank you, Mr. President.