7 July 2023, Yogyakarta, Indonesia – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partners articulated commitments to implement the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on Women, Peace and Security (RPA WPS) to promote women’s participation and leadership in preventing conflicts and sustaining peace at ASEAN WPS Summit convened in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 6-7 July.
The Association’s ten member states endorsed the ASEAN RPA WPS in November 2022 at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits which is the first-ever regional policy framework on WPS. Today marked the culmination of a two-day high-level dialogue to strengthen commitments to start putting the plan into action, both regionally and within each country.
“The women, peace and security agenda is central to Indonesian domestic and foreign policies as well as to coordinated efforts to maintain peace and prosperity in the region,” said H.E. I Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati, Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection of Indonesia which chairs ASEAN this year. “Growth and prosperity are impossible without the participation of women and vulnerable groups in sustaining peace.”
“2023 is monumental as the first year for the implementation of RPA WPS that will formalize the Women, Peace, and Security architecture in ASEAN. The region has a lot to share and demonstrate the increasing relevance of the WPS agenda in the 21st century, given the changing landscape of peace and security and emerging non-traditional threats,” said Jamshed Kazi, Representative of UN Women Indonesia and Liaison to ASEAN.
“The ambitious WPS action plan outlines the critical steps necessary to address the unique challenges faced by women in conflict-affected areas. In order to be successful in its implementation, we have to work together and consolidate our partnerships,” said Kate Rebholz, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Mission to ASEAN, adding, “Investing in women’s empowerment, gender equality, and peacebuilding is not only a moral imperative, but also a smart investment in the future stability and prosperity of the ASEAN region.”
At the Summit, government representatives, gender experts, diplomats and members of civil society and international organizations discussed the importance of integrating gender lens into the peace and security context of ASEAN to respond to emerging challenges such as climate-related security issues, disaster, cybersecurity, and violent extremism.
The Summit was hosted by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, and funded by the Governments of Australia, Canada, Republic of Korea, and United Kingdom, UN Women, United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Will Nankervis, Australia’s Ambassador to ASEAN said, “Australia is proud to be working with ASEAN on the Women, Peace and Security agenda in our shared region. Supporting gender equality and inclusive policies and programs forms a core component of the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. To address our shared security challenges, we must support the full and equal participation and leadership of women and girls in the security sector, military contingents, peacekeeping forces, and peacemaking. We need the capabilities, insights, strength and transformative leadership of diverse women and girls to attain and sustain peace. I congratulate Indonesia and ASEAN for convening this High-Level Dialogue.”
“Canada is very pleased to be part of the WPS journey with ASEAN, through our engagement with UN Women in support of the Empowering Women for Sustainable Peace initiative, our Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, our partnership with organizations such as with the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, as well as through our commitment to hosting a series of WPS Dialogues in 2023,” said Canada’s Ambassador to ASEAN, Vicky Singmin, adding, “Canada stands ready to support ASEAN-led efforts to advance the WPS agenda across the region. Canada is delighted to see the remarkable progress and expansion of partnerships that have helped to ensure strong momentum to advance WPS within the ASEAN region and beyond.”
“Women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes and mediation is vital. Promoting Women, Peace and Security is a core pillar of the ASEAN-UK partnership and we are proud to be working with UN Women and the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation to effect real progress on this issue. Our commitments today will support ASEAN member states as they build WPS into their policies, and support civil society to empower women in peace and security decision-making. As our Gender Envoy reiterated in her video recording for the event, we are committed to putting women and girls, in all their diversity, at the heart of everything we do and to standing up and speaking out for women’s and girls’ rights and freedoms,” said Sarah Tiffin, UK Ambassador to ASEAN.
The Summit’s key highlights include:
- Presentation of national initiatives such as National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security (NAP WPS) adopted by Indonesia and the Philippines and the plan to adopt NAP WPS by Thailand and Viet Nam in the near future.
- Discussion on key elements for effective coordination, monitoring and financing for the advancement of WPS agenda emphasizing the need to establish monitoring mechanism and apply a gender-responsive budgeting to advance WPS commitments at the national level.
- Reaffirmation of international partners to support the implementation of ASEAN RPA WPS and advancement of the WPS agenda in the region including UN Women and the Governments of Australia, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Just before the WPS Summit, participants visited Sinduharjo Village, one of the established Peace Villages and Wedomartani Village, a Women and Children Friendly Village (DRPA) by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection to study the good examples of community-based approach on women, peace and security in Indonesia.
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Note to editor
Peace Village Initiative was jointly started in 2017 by Indonesia’s Wahid Foundation and UN Women, supported by the Governments of Australia, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Sweden and the United Nations Human Security Trust Fund, enables women in villages on Java Island to take the lead in building peaceful and resilient communities. The Indonesian Government has been supporting the project as part of its national action plans on women, peace and security and on countering violent extremism.
The Women and Children Friendly Village (DRPA) is village models initiated in 2021 by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection in Indonesia which integrates women and children’s rights perspectives in governance and development of the village. The action plans of the villages include providing women-friendly public infrastructure to conduct collective activities; establishing a gender-responsive mechanism to protect women and children from gender-based violence; and promoting women’s participation and leadership in all sectors in the village including security and economy.
For more information about the women, peace and security agenda in the ASEAN region: https://wps.asean.org
Follow #WPSASEAN and #ASEANRPAWPS on social media for updates.
For further information
- Mr. Neil Buckland, First Secretary (Development – Political Security), Australian Mission to ASEAN
- Ms. Nindia Satiman, Advocacy Officer, Mission of Canada to ASEAN
- Ms. Yoomi Jun, Communications Officer, UN Women Indonesia
- Ms. Samara Sanders, Communications Specialist, USAID/RDMA ASEAN Office