The Philippines is located in one of the world’s most thriving regions and has experienced steady economic growth over the last decade. However, the country still suffers from one of the world’s longest-running internal conflicts.
Norway had been facilitating the peace process in the Philippines for ten years when the talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) came to a standstill in 2011. Three years later NOREF started working systematically to investigate the chances for peace, and, if possible, to encourage the fragile attempts to revive the peace process. When a change of government in the Philippines again opened a window of opportunity in 2016, NOREF was in a unique position to support the process by providing technical and substantive faciliation support in close coordination with the Norwegian MFA‘s facilitation.
NOREF’s work in the Philippines is constantly evolving as the peace process progresses and new needs surface. Based on our networks and knowledge of the country’s society and history, we deliver advice and recommendations on issues such as inclusivity, ceasefires and communication. We also provide logistical support, which requires cultural understanding and conflict sensitivity.
Our experiences from the newly concluded peace process with the FARC in Colombia are turning out to be very useful in the Philippines. Although the two countries are far apart geographically, the conflict lines are surprisingly similar, and in both countries the conflict has endured for decades. NOREF’s military dialogue initiatives from Colombia are particularly relevant, and there are prospects for similar initiatives in the Philippines.
Programme Manager: Marco Mezzera