Global Peacebuilders Offer to Help Revive Stalled Peace Process

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of the Armed Conflict (GPPAC), a  global network of peacebuilders, is offering to join a body that is being set up to break the impasse in the peace process between the Philippine government (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and to also support and sustain it.

During his appearance in   the ABS-CBN’s regional morning TV show, Maayong Buntag Mindanao (Good Morning, Mindanao), earlier today. Gus Miclat of Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), which is the Regional Secretariat  for Southeast Asia of  GPPAC, said that GPPAC is offering itself as a potential member of the  the International Contact Group (ICG) of the GRP-MILF peace process.

Mr. Miclat said that GPPAC could share its experience and knowledge from peace processes in other conflicts  in its involvement with the ICG if chosen as a member. The ICG will be a body of   both governments and international non-government organizations that aims to restore the mutual trust between the  the GRP and MILF.

The GRP and the MILF both agreed to the formation of the ICG during their talks held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last September 15.

IID is hosting the annual meeting of the GPPAC-International Steering Group in Davao City, Manila and Jakarta between October 1-9, 2009. Around 55 peacebuilders from around the world  will come together. They will visit local communities in Mindanao, particularly those affected by the conflict, and meet with various local peace organizations, policymakers, donor and diplomatic communities in Manila. During their stay over the course of the meetings,the group hopes to meet both with President Macapagal-Arroyo and the MILF leadership to discuss issues of peace and  conflict prevention in general and specifically its offer to join the ICG. Following this, they will go to Jakarta to meet with Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Dr. Surin Pitsuwan.

Along with Mr. Miclat during the TV appearance  were TATJANA POPOVIC, Peace Education Programme Coordinator at Nansen Dialogue Centre – Serbia and MARTE HELLEMA, Programme Manager  Awareness Raising of the GPPAC Global Secretariat, the European Centre for Conflict Prevention (ECCP).

Ms. Popovic pointed out the  similarities between the conflicts in   Mindanao and the Western Balkans. She said that sharing experiences and approaches to conflict can be very beneficial for civil society organizations to develop more effective peacebuilding mechanisms,.

Ms. Hellema emphasized that  sharing and learning from each others’ experiences in conflict prevention and peacebuilding is indeed one of GPPAC’s key strengths. This is the capacity that the network would bring to the table if joining the ICG. “Together we can make peace possible. Also for Mindanao.”

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