GPPAC’s International Learning and Solidarity Mission to the Philippines
Between the 25th and the 28th of November, Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict Working Group on Enabling Collaboration (WG-EC) on the Philippines held an International Learning and Solidarity Mission on the peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDFP). The Working Group is facilitated by GPPAC-Southeast Asia Secretariat Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) based in the Philippines.
The mission was led by GPPAC Vice-Chair of the Board and experienced mediator, Miguel Alvarez Gandara of Serapaz México. The mission included other GPPAC members and partners, from Colombia, Spain, Timor Leste, Thailand, Cambodia, Finland, Switzerland and Germany with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences in mediating conflicts in their own countries, South East Asia and the world. They were joined by around 25 peace advocates and community and Indigenous Peoples’ leaders from all over the Philippines.
Through the four-day mission, the delegation held low-key meetings and dialogues with various stakeholders, including representatives from both the NDFP and the GRP panels, the Office of the President Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Cabinet Security Cluster, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Manila, community representatives from conflict-affected areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, and other peace advocates in the country.
The activity aimed to support the peace process by:
- Providing a space for learning exchange on peace processes and the role of local actors, sharing lessons from other peace processes, and identifying how local actors can be further supported and what constructive role civil society can play;
- Supporting the identification of concrete steps to facilitate political and social conditions for a favourable durable dialogue; and,
- Providing a platform to amplify the voices of victims and survivors of the armed conflict as the direct people concerned by both the ongoing conflict and its potential resolution. .
This mission is part of a long-term accompaniment process of GPPAC for local actors to the conflict and the peace process.
The Learning and Solidarity Mission was, as described by one of the participants, “thoughtful, deeply-engaging and formed a systematic learning process”. It allowed GPPAC and its members to engage with a broad variety of actors and develop further ideas on how to support and work with the parties to the talks and the peace process more widely. Considering the current uncertainties around the peace talks, ideas for follow-ups included the strengthening of the support and demand for the peace talks and peace strategies as well as strengthening systems that bring relevant parties together for peacebuilding and trust building processes.