28 January 2014 by Michael Vatikiotis
The signing on 25 January of the final agreements of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro ended more than forty years of war in Muslim Mindanao. But the agreement does more than that. It also shows a world beset by intractable conflicts how sustained political will and skillful negotiation can produce comprehensive agreements to address the complex drivers of conflict and offer the hope of lasting peace.
The second decade of the 21st century has been stony ground for peacemakers. New conflicts have erupted across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and old conflicts have been rekindled. The Arab Spring that marked the start of the decade has left countries that tried to embrace democracy bitterly divided along ethnic and religious lines; African states where internal conflict had been settled through negotiation or dialogue, such as Mozambique and the Central African Republic, have seen old wounds re-opened. In Asia, chronic sub-national conflict seems to defy prolonged mitigation efforts in India, much of Southeast Asia and the fringes of China.