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In order to discuss effective ways of sustainable peacekeeping, leaders of the Nonviolent Peaceforce met with several experts from the government, non-governmental organizations, the academe and the military at a forum on civilian peacekeeping, organized by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) and supported by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). During the forum, the government showed its appreciation for the successful work of Nonviolent Peaceforce in Mindanao.
Headed and moderated by Fr. Eliseo Mercado, Jr., OMI, Executive Director of IAG, the international participants discussed their experiences and presented the criteria which they believe are necessary for long-term and successful peacekeeping in troubled regions.
Mr Klaus Preschle, country representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, praised the work of the Nonviolent Peaceforce in Mindanao. “While the peace negotiations are on hold, we should focus on grassroots activities that promote the security and welfare of the people,” he said.
In his speech, Rolf Carriere, senior advisor of Nonviolent Peaceforce and former Bangladesh’s UNICEF director, focused on the difference between peacemaking and peacekeeping: Peacemaking is just the beginning; when peace is stabilized, a comprehensive system of peacekeeping has to be put into place. Carriere compared armed military interventions with the advantages of unarmed peacekeeping; as well as Mel Duncan, Executive Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce, who pointed out the lower costs and the ability to work together with the different conflicting parties.
Tim Wallis, Programme Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce, underlined the principles that would determine the success of unarmed peacekeeping. According to him, peacekeepers in troubled regions have to be independent, international, nonviolent and culturally sensitive. He stressed that a global capacity of well-trained peacekeepers has to be enlarged for the future. He also said that civilian peacekeepers very often can act more appropriately than blue helmets or the military. Therefore civilian peacekeeping has recently become a global trend.
Atif Hameed, Nonviolent Peaceforce Country Director to the Philippines, gave some successful examples of the work of civilian peacekeepers in Mindanao. Atty. Camilo Montesa from the Office of the Presidential Advisor on Peace Process showed his appreciation for the work of the Nonviolent Peaceforce: “Civilian Peacekeeping and especially the work of Nonviolent Peaceforce played a very important and positive role for the ceasefire in Mindanao.”
Moreover, BGen Juancho Saban from the Philippine Marine Corps, Ms. Karen Tañada from the GZO Peace Institute and Ms. Amina Rasul from the Philippine Council for Islamic Democracy joined the forum as participants.