From where I stand: “It’s possible to achieve the just and humane society that I envision”

Date: Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sophia Garcia. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Sophia Garcia. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brownan Brown

Sophia Dianne Garcia from the Philippines is a youth activist who teaches young people to advocate for their rights and for peace. She spoke to UN Women about what sustainable peace means for her, as part of an editorial series that presents the daily sustainable development challenges that people around the world face and how they are bringing about change.

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In my country, there are a lot of extremists. Very recently, in May 2017, there was a crossfire between the rebels (ISIS) and the government troops, and it was the civilians who suffered. People were displaced from their homes; children's schools were bombed; and livelihoods were lost. People were deprived of their basic rights.

Peace is under threat in our country right now. “Peace” is not a new concept. But “sustainable peace” is, and it adds value. Sustainable peace means that the long-term vision will stand the test of time. It means that this generation will be able to pass it on to the next generation, to make sure they can live in a just and humane society and have the same or better opportunities to exercise their human rights.

Sustainable peace is a collective effort, a shared responsibility, whether you're from civil society, from the government, or from international community. Everyone plays an important role because sustainable peace doesn’t just benefit one, it benefits all. 

I work with the Girl+ Ambassadors for Peace programme, which teaches young women about their rights and how to use social media to advocate for peace and human rights.

My friends call me idealistic, but I know that it is possible to achieve the just and humane society that I envision, and I'm the type of person who doesn't give up. I will find ways to make that a reality.”


SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
SDG 5: Gender equality

Sophia Dianne Garcia, 23, works for the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), an international organization that is supported, in part, by UN Women. In response to decades of conflict in the Philippines, GNWP was involved in the development of a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2017-2022). The Plan aims to provide services and programmes for women in conflict-affected areas and promote women’s participation in the peace process. GWNP’s youth programme, Girl + Ambassadors for Peace, is active in five countries, including the Philippines, and has over 200 participants. Garcia’s work with the GWNP contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies, and SDG 5, which calls for gender equality and women’s empowerment.