ASEAN launches plan to promote women’s security in Southeast Asia

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and UN Women, launched the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on Women, Peace and Security ( ASEAN RPA on WPS) on December 5.
Participants at the ceremony to launch the (Photo:
Participants at the ceremony to launch the (Photo:

According to a joint statement released on the same day, the regional plan of action was adopted by the ASEAN Leaders during the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits in November 2022 as a key deliverable during the term of Cambodia as ASEAN Chair.

It outlines ways to implement the four main pillars of the women, peace and security agenda – women’s protection, participation, prevention, and relief and recovery – along with implementation, coordination, reporting, and monitoring and evaluation. It is also meant to advance commitments of ASEAN member nations to implementing the action plan.

Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi, Minister of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia, said the development of the ASEAN RPA on WPS is a major step forward to fulfil ASEAN’s vision in achieving gender equality.

Promoting women’s roles and participation across all realms of peace and security ranging from conflict prevention, peace building, preventing violent extremism and tackling emerging security risks such as disaster and pandemics in the region is imperative to reach the goal of ASEAN as inclusive and people-centered Community.

The regional plan of action is a major step forward in ASEAN’s efforts to ensure that its ten member states recognise and leverage women’s participation and leadership in preventing conflict and building and in maintaining peace in the region.

Sarah Knibbs, Regional Director of UN Women in Asia Pacific said the Women, Peace and Security agenda was founded with a simple but transformative idea that peace is fundamentally linked to equality between women and men.

ASEAN RPA on WPS provides a critical framework for realising a more inclusive and sustainable peace in the region, she noted.