Owning the process: Public participation in peacemaking
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In 1992, the Philippines’ President Ramos launched a nationwide consultation process to develop a strategy for talks with the country’s various armed groups.

Miriam Coronel Ferrer describes the National Unification Commission (NUC) and the consultation process this set in motion.

The document legitimized and validated the long-existing demands of social movements and progressive sections of civil society: the need for comprehensive reforms to address structural inequalities and achieve lasting peace.

Miriam Coronel Ferrer

Despite shortcomings, including both the diffuse nature of the consulted groups and the exclusion of others, the NUC’s report was groundbreaking in recognising poverty and inequality as the primary causes of conflict and in setting out the ‘Six Paths to Peace’ that became the operational framework for government peace policy.

The process reinvigorated the peace process, raised public awareness, helped crystallise a network of peace organisations and made public consultation a part of governance.

However, Ferrer warns that consultation exercises without consequences can be counter-productive.