By: Melia S. Ukom, WAC Secretary on CCA of UNYPAD
COTABATO City (November 12, 2014) — South East Asian Youth Organizations met for the Third Steering Committee Meeting last October 26-28, 2014 at the Buri Sriphu Boutique Hotel, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand. The meeting was participated by representatives of the steering committee member organizations from three different conflict zones in South East Asia. These include Aceh in Indonesia, Deep South in Thailand and Mindanao in Philippines. Two of the participants are from Mindanao representing the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) and Young Advocates for Peace and Development Network (YAPDN).
Mr Morsidin Husain, designated President and Chief Executive Officer of YAPDN, said that the meeting was set for the finalization of the plan for the forthcoming South East Asian youth conference focusing on “Youth Engagement in Governance and Conflict Mitigation in Southeast Asia.
Mr Anwar Saluwang, Executive Director of the Development Management Center (DMC) of UNYPAD, acknowledged that being part of the steering committee is an opportunity to share the peacebuilding experiences of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Mindanao with other CSOs working for peace in the neighboring regions like Aceh and South Thailand.
“Notably, the said regions were facing similar peace issues specifically the presence of political movements pushing for right to self-determination,” Saluwang, also a deputy Secretary General of UNYPAD for Budget and Allocation, said.
“We are very glad that we are part of this forthcoming conference because it will be an opportunity to share the experiences of the Bangsamoro people especially those experiences that paved the way for the signing of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro – the peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front”, he added.
He further said that it is an opportunity to understand the best practices and lessons learned of the CSOs from South Thailand and Aceh.
Husain, also a UNYPAD Technical Consultant, disclosed that the South East Asian youth conference will be conducted on November 26-28, 2014 at Centara Hotel, Hat Yai district, Songkhla, Thailand, which will be participated by at least fifty (50) youth leaders from the three different regions in South East Asia including ten from Mindanao.
“The conference’s overarching goal is to establish mechanism in strengthening youth solidarity to achieve peace in the region. It was further expected that after the conference platform for bilateral calls was formed, came up with strategies and approaches in addressing common peace and development issues, and more importantly an established sustainable network of youth organizations in South East Asia,” he said.
The steering committee member organizations are the following; Deep South Youth Congress, National Council for Children and Youth Development (NCYD), Association of Children and Youth for Peace in the Southern Provinces of Thailand (Luukrieng), People’s College, People Empowerment Foundation, and The Academy of Patani Raya for Peace and Development (Lempar) all from Thailand; Acehnese Civil Society Task Force and Komunitas Pemuda Blogger Aceh (Young Blogger Community Organization) from Aceh Indonesia; Young Advocates of Peace and Development Network Inc. (YAPDN) and United Youth for Peace and Development, Inc. (UNYPAD) from Mindanao Philippines.
The initiative is being supported by USAID through its Sapan Program in Thailand.