UN, WB back peace process with MILF

MANILA – The World Bank and the United Nations are allocating $7 million in technical assistance to help ensure the success of the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as well as facilitate the establishment of a Bangsamoro entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The amount will come from the UN Peace-Building Fund and the World Bank State and Peace Building Fund.

The two institutions are inviting more development partners to contribute funds and expertise.

“This new program is very much linked to the World Bank’s goal of helping the poor in the country. We are all aware that there is a strong link between conflict and poverty,” said World Bank country director Motoo Konishi.

“Ultimately, we want to see more job opportunities, more children going to school, and more people accessing basic social services without any disruption due to conflict,” Konishi said.

The technical assistance is specifically intended for the Facility for Advisory Support for Transition Capacities (FASTRAC) aimed at helping the government and the MILF address key issues for the Bangsamoro such as governance, justice, and security.

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The UN, through its resident coordinator, will assume full responsibility for the funds, including those coming from donors.

The Transition Commission, the government and the MILF will determine which areas will be given priority in the implementation of projects.

The Transition Commission, created in December last year, was tasked to draft the proposed basic law for the Bangsamoro.

FASTRAC will facilitate on-demand access to a pool of experts, training, policy advice, research, and international exchanges.

UN resident coordinator Luiza Carvalho said a basic law “will reflect the Bangsamoro people’s aspirations for genuine autonomy while establishing the basis for efficient and accountable government.”

The UN will tap its vast network of national and international experts to provide support on issues like wealth sharing, normalization, security sector reform, public administration, and governance.

The World Bank will also make available experts in development planning, justice sector reform, macroeconomic management in post-conflict situations, natural resource management, and fiscal and tax policies.