The Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries (top photo) and the Philippine UNDP representative Selva Ramachandran.
The Swedish government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Philippines have launched a new partnership to support the integration of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS) into peacebuilding efforts in the Bangsamoro area.
The Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries and the Philippine UNDP representative Selva Ramachandran opened the cooperation in a virtual kick-off event with the Bangsamoro Women’s Commission (BWC). Through the agreement, Sweden will support the ongoing work of UNDP and BWC in implementing the Bangsamoro Regional Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security alongside the new framework for community resilience in Bangsamoro. The initiative also aims to promote the empowerment of women and strengthen communities against natural disasters, conflicts and pandemics.
One of the key projects that the partnership will cover is the Women Insider Mediators – Rapid Action and Mobilization Platform (WIM – RAMP) – a group of community-based mediators from Moro and indigenous peoples in BARMM who have committed to work together to strengthen Bangsamoro women as peacemakers, conflict mediators and community leaders in the region.
Ambassador Fries emphasized the importance of partnership in his message and stated that the promotion of the empowerment of women and gender equality is anchored in Swedish government work, as Sweden is known worldwide for its feminist government and feminist foreign policy.
He went on to say that “gender equality is an end in itself. However, gender equality should also be seen as an essential element in achieving other goals such as peace, security and development. Studies show that quality, legitimacy and sustainability of peace agreements “and peacebuilding are significantly higher when women are included as active participants and have real influence on the peace process.”
“The launch of this project and its subsequent implementation will certainly contribute to the implementation of the Bangsamoro Regional Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security, especially during this transition period,” said Hadja Bainon Karon MP, Chair of the Bangsamoro Women’s Commission.
The Bangsamoro Women Commission, developed with the support of UNDP and other UN organizations, launched the Bangsamoro Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (RAP-WPS) 2020-2022 in October 2020, which aims to promote the role of Bangsamoro Women in the implementation of the peace agreement and the protection of their human rights in conflict and post-conflict transformation.
In his message, Dr. Ramachandran states that UNDP “recognizes the resilience of women as mediators and peacemakers in the face of overlapping vulnerabilities due to conflict, natural disasters and the ongoing pandemic. With Sweden’s support, we will be able to continue the work of BWC and WIM-RAMP members in the areas of humanitarian aid, conflict prevention and peacebuilding. “