Strengthening Women Participation in Peace and Security in SE Asia

January 14, 2019

 
The ASEAN Women Peace Registry (AWPR) was recently launched in the historic city of Cebu with participation of more than 50 women expert delegates from ten ASEAN member states.
 
AWPR is a platform for experience-sharing and knowledge exchange among women peace practitioners in ASEAN. It upholds the ASEAN “Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security” which underscores the need to integrate gender perspectives in crafting initiatives and strategies in conflict prevention and ensures full participation of women in peace processes.
 
The AWPR is a living document of women peace practitioners who have established expertise in working towards peace, security and reconciliation in ASEAN. It was formally launched during the “Symposium for the Establishment of an ASEAN Women Peace Registry” at Movenpick Hotel in Cebu City. The event was co-organized by the Department of Foreign Affair’s Philippine Permanent Mission to the ASEAN, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and the Ateneo de Manila University’s Initiative for Southeast Asian Studies (AISEAS).  The event was supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and endorsed by the ASEAN- Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR).


ASEAN Secretary-General His Excellency Dato Lim Jock Hoi (center) hands over the ASEAN Women for Peace Registry ceremonial document to Permanent Representative of Singapore to ASEAN and Chair of the ASEAN-IPR Governing Council H.E. Tan Hung Seng with  (L-R) Ambassador of Norway to ASEAN His Excellency Morten Høglund, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the ASEAN and Representative to the AIPR Her Excellency Elizabeth Buensuceso and ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation Executive Director Rezlar Ishar Jenie during the “Symposium on the Establishment of the ASEAN Women Peace Registry” recently held in Cebu City.

 
Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the ASEAN and Representative to the AIPR Governing Council Ambassador, shared that the AWPR is borne from recommendations of previous AIPR workshops.
 
“Three years ago, on this very same island, a dream was born. Meeting here for an ASEAN-IPR Workshop to discuss the role of women in peace processes and reconciliation, participants recommended the creation of a pool of women experts to promote gender perspectives in peace and reconciliation processes throughout ASEAN, as well as to nurture and strengthen the capacities of our home-grown women peace experts.”
 
ASEAN Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi “affirms the Region’s support for the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda”. He also noted that while the Region has made significant strides in prevention, peacemaking and peacebuilding, there is still a need to strengthen women leadership in peace and security.  “There are too few women when it comes to peace and security decision-making and too few resources and opportunities for women’s participation in peacebuilding. Around the world, political resistance and violence continue to limit women growth, limit their access to resources and power, and even undermine their ability to care for themselves and their families.”
 
He emphasized that initiatives such as the AWPR can help empower women in maintaining and promoting peace in the region.


ASEAN member states nominated their women experts to the ASEAN Women Peace Registry (AWPR)

“There is no doubt that collective actions are crucial for mainstreaming women’s rights and gender equality in peace and security.  In this regard, the establishment of an ASEAN Women Peace Registry (AWPR) is an important initiative towards addressing this issue and to build the capacity of women as peace-builders and to encourage a more gendered approach to peace and conflict in the region.”

Coinciding with the AWPR launch is a symposium that tackled the issue of mainstreaming of women in peace and security, as well as the attendant challenges.  Key personalities who led the discussions include  UN Mediation Support Unit’s Miriam Coronel Ferrer, AIPR Executive Director Rezlan Jenie, Norwegian Center for Conflict Resolution Senior Adviser Laura Mitchell, and UN Women Regional Governance-Peace and Security Advisor for Asia and the Pacific Hanny Cueva-Beteta.
 
Other key figures that led the discussion are Philippine Representative for Women to the ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children Lourdesita Sobrevega-Chan, ASEAN Secretariat Assistant Director and Head of Poverty Eradication and Gender Division Dr. Sita Sumrit, OPAPP Undersecretary Diosita Andot,  Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence against Women-Komnas Perempuan Dr. Adrianna Venny Aryani, and ASEAN Studies Centre-ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute Lead Researcher MS. Moe Thuzar.


More than 50 women experts participated in the “Symposium on the Establishment of the ASEAN Women Peace Registry” organized by the ASEAN, ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ateneo de Manila University’s Initiative for Southeast Asian Studies (AISEAS).

Participants gave concrete recommendations on how to best maximize the AWPR, given the challenges that beset the region.  Chair of the ASEAN IPR Governing Council and Permanent Representative of Singapore to ASEAN Ambassador Tan Hung Seng captures it succinctly: “The (AWPR) is important because it represents another building block in ASEAN’s efforts to mainstream women in peace processes. AWPR will not only function as a ready resource of ASEAN women experts but will also enhance their capacity to further contribute to peace negotiations.”