Women to lead greening of Apia Port

Women will be encouraged to drive the green initiatives and policies at the refurbished Apia Port as part of the rehabilitation project between the Government and the Asian Development Bank (A.D.B). 

As well as rebuild the breakwater to project against storms and rising sea levels, strengthen border security and increase container storage capacity, the US$62.26 (T$166.835) million grant will go towards making the port energy efficient and environmentally sustainable.

And in doing so, it intends to increase female participation in the port’s operations, by up-skilling female staff on “state-of-the-art environmental management practices,” in what looks like a two birds with one stone move.

A.D.B Regional Director Masayuki Tachiiri said while environmental challenges and gender equality are separate issues, there is some “overlap” the project hopes to exploit.

“When we protect the environment and encourage environmentally friendly policies and regulations, sometimes women have smarter ideas, I need to admit,” Mr. Tachiiri said.

“So they will be part of discussions and policy and rule making area.”

“I recognise that among the Pacific countries, in Samoa women’s participation is relatively advanced, but we encourage it further during this project.”

Mr. Tachiiri said the project funding will go towards making the lighting and operation of the port less energy intensive and reduce overall energy consumption. 

He said the detail needs to be tailored to Samoa’s context, because the port is not a “traditional role” for women, but like for the region as  whole, improving women’s access to maritime careers is a priority.

This week, during the 4th Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers Meeting, the Regional Strategy for Pacific Women in Maritime 2020 to 2024 will be launched, two years after ministers called for its development.

Minister of Finance Sili Epa Tuioti said investing in the port upgrade means more opportunities for women to take up senior management positions, not only within the port but in the private sector which utilises it.

“There is potential for women to participate, and obviously we need to help them make that transition,” he said.

“It’s quite important that we try and be as inclusive as possible in terms of using the best skills and resources available and women have made huge strides in being involved and senior management level. 

“There is always room for improvement.”

He took the opportunity to commend women for taking up many ministry chief executive officer positions, and filling up state owned enterprise boards.

“We have deliberately gone out to encourage women to be part of those boards,” said Sili.

According to the bank’s final report and recommendations by President Takehiko Nakao, developing this “gender-sensitive green port” is aligned with the Samoa Transport Sector Plan 2014-2019 vision.

It also states that as well as mobilising women to lead the greening of the port, there will be regular gendered analyses done on port operations to address its impact of women working in or around the port.

To learn more about the project ‘Enhancing Safety, Security, and Sustainability of Apia Port Project’ visit the A.D.B website.

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