From strengthening peace in the southern Philippines to preventing escalations in the South China Sea, HD supports the needs of local communities and contributes to wider regional and global security.

Conflicts in South and Southeast Asia can reverberate throughout the region and beyond. HD teams work closely with governments, non-state actors, civil society groups and other stakeholders – very often discreetly – to produce sustainable and meaningful outcomes that reduce tensions and resolve conflict.

Since 2004, HD has been deeply engaged in the Philippines by supporting the peace process on the southern island of Mindanao. The 2019 creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has curbed confrontation between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but peace remains vulnerable.

HD continues to help bolster ties between the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front. Our teams work with local mediators to resolve clan conflicts and use social media to engage women and youth in dialogue over local grievances.

To strengthen Bangsamoro communities, HD ran a series of citizen assemblies to help the regional government understand people’s views about post-COVID economic recovery. In partnership with The Asia Foundation, HD has also mobilised support for women-led businesses in Sulu to build the economic dividends of peace.

Around the Bay of Bengal, HD facilitates a regional dialogue by Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia to mitigate conflict and address environmental degradation.

Working closely with HD’s Northeast Asia region, our teams support efforts to reduce tensions in the South China Sea and to conserve vital maritime resources.

HD regularly facilitates dialogue sessions between the coastguards of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. These agencies, together with HD, co-drafted a set of Common Operating Principles to reduce the risk of escalations during maritime encounters.

With fish stocks in the South China Sea down 70% to 95% since the 1950s, HD has successfully supported cooperation by scientists from the five countries to analyse and assess shared resources that provide food and livelihoods for many millions of people.

More than 100 scientists and other experts contributed to the 1st Common Fisheries Resource Analysis released in September 2022.

Photo: One of a series of citizen assemblies in Bangsamoro communities in the southern Philippines to help chart the course for post-COVID economic recovery. © HD