Notes from the Field

EVENT: Sustaining a Peace Process in Philippines – Lessons from Peace Processes in Hard Times

February 24, 2010

The prospect of forging a final peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) within the current Arroyo administration is getting slimmer as the national May 2010 presidential elections draw nearer. Talks have resumed, but only after a tumultuous 18 months that threatened to shatter every single gain that these peace talks have managed to build. Now they face the challenge of forging something concrete and actionable within three months. The idea of an interim agreement has been floated to reflect the need to transition the talks safely from the current to the next administration. How durable is this peace process? What can be done to sustain it?

In this critical period, The Asia Foundation organized an open forum this week with the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies to convene representatives from other regions experiencing conflict and share possible answers to such questions and explore common challenges and solutions. Asia Foundation Deputy Country Representatives, Sagar Prasai from Nepal and Zoran Milovic from Afghanistan led discussions on how their two countries’ young governments, respectively, have worked to roll out post-conflict mechanisms and facilitate the building of democratic institutions. In addition, Tom Parks, the Foundation’s Director for Conflict and Governance, who is based in Bangkok, provided his regional perspective on peace processes, and shared his expertise on violent conflict and fragile states. Ky Johnson, Deputy Country Representative for The Asia Foundation in the Philippines also participated in the Forum.

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