Our work with the Bangsamoro Insider Mediation Group continues in 2019, entering its third year. Over the years, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), we have trained a total of 130 people in mediation and negotiation skills. They form an informal network of Bangsamoro from different backgrounds, including MILF, MNLF, women groups, youth groups, CSOs and government officials. This informal network and the meditation and negotiation skills that its members had acquired, played an important role in getting the peace agreement ratified. However, with the start of the implementation of the peace agreement and the formation of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, the context of the work has changed.
One of the biggest changes is that Insider Mediator members are now part of the government of the new autonomous region. Fifteen of the 130 trained Insider Mediators have joined the Cabinet and/or the Bangsamore Transitional Assembly, three of them in the position of minister. In addition, another twelve Insider Mediators hold senior positions in the legislative and executive branch.
In a session in Davao at the end of March we evaluated the priorities of the IM group and the ways the group can move forward. Some of the priorities discussed are:
- ensuring a smooth functioning of the government;
- bridging possible divides in the Assembly;
- support the rebuilding of Marawi;
- community mediation.
We also discussed a more formalized structure to the network, with a functioning secretariat and a membership with certain requirements, such as following the training by Clingendael Academy.
Acknowledging that peace requires active work, the Insider Mediators are acutely aware of the challenges ahead and difficulties still to overcome. As ever they remain committed to building consensus among the Bangsamoro and use mediation in conflict prevention and conflict resolution. We are proud of the work they have done so far and pleased to continue our support to the group in our cooperation with the UNDP.
For an impression of the work done by the Insider Mediators in the Philippines, please see this video.
The training programme for Insider Mediation in the Philippines is part of our partnership with UNDP on Insider Mediation and part of our project Negotiation Training as a Conflict Resolution Instrument which is made possible by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.