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3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Advisory Group
October 27, 2020

3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Advisory Group

October 21, 2020 Virtual Meeting

October 21, 2020. The United States, through the U.S Agency of International Development (USAID), continues its commitment to promote and protect the rights of women in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. In collaboration with UN Women and the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN-USAID Partnership for Regional Optimization within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT) project is supporting the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) to undertake a comprehensive regional study on the current state of implementation of the WPS agenda in ASEAN.

Despite the challenges posed to researchers by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the first draft of the study has been completed and provides a review of existing literature, as well as capturing—for the first time—the status of implementation of the WPS agenda across the region. In addition, the study offers an analysis of existing gaps and concrete recommendations to advance the agenda in coming years. Now squarely in the review and revision stages, the study is expected to be endorsed and finalized in November 2020 and launched before the end of the year.

The 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN WPS Advisory Group brought together 30 participants, including the five members of the WPS Advisory Group—ACW Cambodia, ACWC Indonesia, ACWC Malaysia, ACWC Philippines, and ACW Vietnam— and UN Women, representatives from All In for Development, and the ASEAN Secretariat.  They discussed next steps and the timeline for the final review of the Regional Study, the ad-referendum endorsement process, and the eventual launching of the study. The meeting also provided an opportunity for PROSPECT’s research team from All In for Development to present key sections of the revised draft to the WPS Advisory Group for discussion. Participants also heard from the ASEAN Secretariat about advocacy and next steps for the cross-pillar implementation of the WPS agenda drawing upon the recommendations from the study.

In his opening remarks, ASEAN’s Deputy Secretary-General from the Socio-Cultural Community, H.E. Kung Phoak, expressed his appreciation to the WPS Advisory Group for their efforts to ensure the report is evidence-based and of the highest quality. DSG Phoak also emphasized the cross-cutting, cross-pillar nature of the WPS agenda and urged further involvement of ASEAN officials from Political-Security and Economic Communities. He closed his remarks by thanking the ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT project and UN Women for their support to ensuring the successful completion of the study.

As a strategic partner of ASEAN, the United States is proud to cooperate with and support ASEAN to operationalize a common commitment to the WPS agenda, taking concrete steps to implement the agenda across the ASEAN Community. The USAID supported regional study complements the U.S. co-sponsored East Asia Summit 2020 Women’s Peace and Security proposed statement outlining common interests towards advancing WPS and will not only shed light on the current state of the WPS agenda in ASEAN, but also provide recommendations which will form the basis for action on its implementation across ASEAN. USAID, through the PROSPECT project, will work with ASEAN to formally launch the study report later in the year. These efforts will help ensure that ASEAN women achieve equal, full, effective participation in peace and development processes.