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UP, UNITAR launch CIFAL Philippines

The Centre International de Formation des Autorités et Leaders (CIFAL) Philippines, the Asia-Pacific hub of the CIFAL Global Network was launched on September 29, 2016 at Novotel Manila during the 3rd President’s Toast,an event that celebrates landmark UP initiatives.
The establishment of CIFAL Philippines in UP is the result of the University’s partnership with the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). It is the sixteenth and latest addition to the UNITAR program.
The 3rd President’s Toast was hosted by the Quezon City government as part of the 3rd Global Mayoral Forum, a two-day UNITAR-supported event which it also hosted.
The Center for Integrative and Development Studies (CIDS) is UP’s lead unit in CIFAL Philippines. As the University’s multidisciplinary policy research center, CIDS is expected to harness the expertise of UP in the areas of migration and development, gender equality, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for CIFAL.
According to UNITAR’s website, the CIFAL Global Network’s goal “is to strengthen the capacities of government officials and civil society leaders, thus empowering them to advance sustainable development.” The centers, therefore, are charged with training local and regional leaders and organizations and “serve as hubs for the exchange of knowledge amongst government officials, the private sector and civil society.”
In his message, UP President Pascual said that the partnership with UNITAR strengthens UP’s regional and global character. In addition, the University’s public service mission is in consonance with UNITAR’s objective “to develop capacities of individuals, organizations and institutions to enhance global decision-making and to support country-level action for shaping a better future.”
Toward the end of his speech, Pascual declared, “UP stands united with UNITAR and the CIFAL Global Network in recognizing the urgency to effectively address the challenges that hinder governments and societies from achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development.”
In her keynote address, Senator Risa Hontiveros  said that CIFAL Philippines’ areas of focus are issues that are important to her and are part of her legislative agenda. She talked about the challenges that stem from migration and mobility, such as racism, xenophobia, public health, integration, and peaceful cohabitation, among others. Hontiveros emphasized the mandate of “policy formulators” such as herself—”to safeguard human rights.”
Other speakers at the event included: former Commission on Filipinos Overseas Chair Imelda Nicolas, who said that the new center will rely heavily on the Filipino experience of migration; UNITAR Senior Training and Research Advisor Colleen Thouez, who expressed appreciation of UP’s partnership; UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, representing UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Ola Almgren, who called the establishment of CIFAL Philippines “timely” because of the increasing phenomenon of migration and the Filipino diaspora; and UP VP for Public Affairs, CIFAL Philippines Director, and CIDS Executive Director Edna Co, who remarked, “UP is now UN.” Co was also a speaker at the 3rd Global Mayoral Forum, where she talked about the critical role of universities in knowledge networks, specifically in the attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through local leadership.
This article was originally posted on the UP System website.