PHL Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo Wins Seat in UN Treaty Body on Gender Equality and Women's Rights

Philippine Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo won a seat in the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in elections held today at the United Nations Headquarters.

Ambassador Manalo, one of the Philippines’ most accomplished diplomats, was among 25 candidates vying for 11 seats in CEDAW for the term 2017-2020.

The Philippines’ victory is a testament to the country’s active advocacy and leadership on women’s rights.

President Benigno S. Aquino III himself is a champion for gender equality, being one of the UN’s 10 HeForShe IMPACT Heads of States recognized by UN Women for his efforts in promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality.

CEDAW is a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Convention, adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for action to end such discrimination.

Ambassador Manalo served as Chairperson of CEDAW in 2005-2006 and the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 1984-1986, which became the Preparatory Committee for the 1985 Nairobi Third World Conference on Women.

After her previous stint in CEDAW, she brought the Convention’s concepts to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“The human condition and the human spirit of the women in this lovely corner of the world will have to cross, sooner than later, to achieve a better life for the people of Southeast Asia. Let us in the Philippines start this journey and lead ASEAN to greater heights in peace, in equality, in prosperity and in the exercise of social justice,” Ambassador Manalo said.

A graduate of the University of the Philippines, where she obtained her Bachelor of Laws and Master of Arts in Public Administration; and Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, where she earned her Master of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy, Ambassador Manalo became the first Filipina to pass the Philippines’ career foreign service officers examinations.

She has an unbeatable 57-year record of service in the Department of Foreign Affairs performing in various capacities in multilateral fora and bilateral relations.

Ambassador Manalo was assigned to her first diplomatic posting as Ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels (1979-1987). She later served as concurrent Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (1985-1987). After a two-year secondment (1988-1990) as adviser to the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, she was named Philippine Ambassador to the French Republic (1990-1994), with concurrent accreditation to Portugal. She was also Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. From 1994 to 1997, Ms. Manalo was Philippine Ambassador to Sweden and the Nordic States, and the Baltic States.

Ambassador Manalo was Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2002, in charge of International Economic Relations. She was concurrently Secretary-General of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines.

She currently teaches at the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde, Miriam College, Philippine Women’s University, University of Asia and the Pacific, National Defense College of the Philippines, the Foreign Service Institute, and the University of the Philippines.

The other 10 candidates who also won a seat in CEDAW were from Bahamas, China, France, Ghana, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mauritania, Nepal, Nigeria, and Norway.