The European Union and the World Food Program have just formalized an agreement that reaffirms the bloc’s commitment to support the peace process in southern Philippines.
Under the agreement, the European Union will provide a €5.9 million ($7.7 million) grant over two years to support livelihood development and sustainable resettlement of people in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, Philippines. The grant will fund the “Enhancing the Resilience of Internally Displaced Persons in Central Mindanao by Strengthening Livelihoods” project, which will be implemented by WFP in collaboration with several Philippine government agencies.
The project will support activities such as cash- and food-for-work initiatives, farmers, fishermen and agriculture cooperatives in the region. It will also promote watershed management, agroforestry and mangrove replantation.
The EU grant is the first of its kind the Philippines has received from any donor following the signing of a framework peace agreement between the government and a major rebel group in Mindanao. The 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro unveiled this month is expected to boost peace-building efforts in the region, which has suffered persisting conflict over the past years.
The grant, according to EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux, reaffirms “the European Union’s support to the development of Mindanao, and this will no doubt continue in the light of the recent peace framework agreement.”
Support for the peace process in and development of Mindanao is among priority areas of EU engagement in the Philippines. Just this July, it announced a 462 million Philippine pesos ($11 million) grant for the humanitarian, development and rehabilitation component of the International Monitoring Team in Mindanao. The IMT monitors the implementation of the 2001 peace agreement between the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
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