‘Stepping it up for Gender Equality’

This International Women’s Day, let us celebrate the leading role Pacific island women play as we strive for a Pacific environment that sustains our livelihoods in harmony with our natural heritage and cultures.

For sustainable development to be successful in our region, women must be part and parcel of all aspects of management of our environment. 

We are all stewards of our environment that not only provides our Pacific communities with their livelihoods but is also the backbone of our Pacific cultures and traditions.

“Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” is the U.N theme of International Women’s Day and we celebrate our Pacific island women that consistently “step it up” showing leadership through the milestones that have been and continue to be reached in the protection and conservation of our environment at all levels.

Here at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) 50 per cent of our senior team inclusive of management and advisers, consists of women. This includes Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti, the first and only Pacific island woman to be a lead author of the 5th Assessment Report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. We are hopeful that she has paved the way forward for many other Pacific island women to follow.

In 2013 we celebrated the leadership shown by Sili’a Kilepoa Ualesi as she led a multi-million dollar Renewable Energy Project across the region, and we continue to have Pacific island women at the helm of regional projects for which the technical expertise is predominantly male.

This year we make special mention of Christina Leala-Gale, a Pacific island woman at the helm of the Finnish-Pacific project now underway across 14 Pacific island countries that works to enhance Pacific Met Services to help strengthen the resilience of community vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

It is important for us all to continue to “step it up for gender equality” and we are committed to this through a range of actions at S.P.R.E.P that include the formation of a special plan to ensure gender equality is achieved through our work, led by our Human Resources Unit and our Environmental Monitoring and Governance Division.

As I close this short message, I must also commemorate and celebrate the Pacific island women we work with across our region in our united efforts to achieve a sustainable Pacific environment. We salute you all.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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