Groups call for a socially accountable national agenda on women, peace and security
Civil society groups urged key national government agencies and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) for a gender-responsive, culture-sensitive, inclusive and socially-accountable national agenda on women, peace, and security in Manila on Wednesday.
The call was made during the turn-over of the consolidated Civil Society Organizations (CSO) agenda on the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAPWPS) to the government member agencies of the National Steering Committee on Women, Peace and Security led by Oxfam Pilipinas in partnership with the Gaston Z. Ortigas (GZO) Peace Institute and the Women Engaged in Action on UNSCR 1325 (WeAct 1325) with support from the Australian Government.
Aligned to the humanitarian organization’s vision for equality, Oxfam Pilipinas Executive Director Erika Geronimo highlighted the importance of amplifying the voices of the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and girls disproportionately affected by armed conflict and other crisis. “Oxfam’s vision is a world where everyone’s future is equal, where every citizen enjoys their rights and is empowered to influence decisions that affect them,” Geronimo said.
WEAct 1325 National Coordinator Elizabeth Yang stressed the impact of armed conflicts on women, girls, youth, and other vulnerable groups.
“We hope that this initiative would lead to developing an inclusive and participatory process in crafting the 2023-2033 NAPWPS and strengthen its implementation through meaningful engagement of the marginalized groups to protect their rights in armed conflict and post-conflict situations,” Yang said.
“We share in solidarity the optimism towards co-creating an inclusive, gender-responsive, and socially accountable NAPWPS for peace and stability,” Geronimo added.
In response, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) said it will expand the membership of the National Steering Committee on Women Peace and Security technical working group to CSO representatives.
“We give importance to our partners, including the CSOs. The PCW, as the Vice Chair [of the NSC-WPS], values the contributions of this consultation for the new NAPWPS to be more inclusive, gender-sensitive, and socially accountable,” PCW Deputy Director for Operations and NSC-WPS Vice Chair Maria Kristine Josefina Balmes.
Department of Welfare and Social Development Assistant Secretary Janet Armas, who also serves as executive committee member of the NCS-WSP, also extended her support for the civil society agenda.
“The 11-point [civil society] agenda you presented is a very valuable starting point for the government [NSC]. We, in the government, commit to strengthening the implementation of policies and improving the systems, including timely interventions for women and children…This is not just a whole-of-government approach but a whole-of-society movement. We join you in the vision of a peaceful Philippines for everyone, every woman, and our children,” Asec. Armas said.
Meanwhile, the Australian Embassy affirmed its support, citing its contribution to improving conditions for peace and stability in the Philippines through supporting peacebuilding in conflict-affected areas.
“The integration of gender perspectives into our planning, operations, and international engagements is crucial because we recognize that conflict in crisis situations has gendered influences and impacts. Ensuring inclusivity and meaningful participation is exactly why we’re gathered here today. It’s vital that the stakeholders affected by these policies are involved in the process,” Australian Embassy in the Philippines Second Secretary for Peace and Stability Jennifer Bennett said.
During the activity, various groups from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao also shared their personal stories on the impact of armed conflict as well as stories of collective resistance to unjust and violent treatment of vulnerable groups and women.
Other government agencies present were representatives from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity, who serves as the chair of the NSC-WPS, Department of National Defense, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Education, and the BARMM government.
The activity is part of the Participatory Engagement in Assessing, Crafting and Expanding the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (PEACE-NAPWPS) Project, which aims to strengthen the participation of Women’s Rights Organizations (WROs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), youth, indigenous peoples, and persons with disability groups in crafting the NAPWPS 2023-2033.
Prior to the presentation of the CSO WPS, the groups led by Oxfam Pilipinas and WEAct 1325 also held a series of consultations with CSOs, WROs, youth, indigenous peoples and person with disability groups to assess the implementation of the NAPWPS 2017-2022 and craft the CSO WPS Agenda in Pasig, Cebu, and Davao.