Suva, Fiji (March 29, 2018) - Increasing population movements, economic progress, human security and governance have been identified by participants at the annual regional Civil Society Organisations’ (CSO) Forum last week as thematic priority policy areas for consideration by the Pacific leadership.
These priority policy areas were agreed to by representatives from across the Pacific following national consultations prior to their participation at the regional CSO Forum held at the Forum Secretariat in Suva last week. They will be presented to the Forum Economic Ministers meeting in Palau in April, and the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Nauru in September, by representatives selected by CSOs during the Forum.
Specific issues under these thematic priority areas include youth entrepreneurship and women’s financial inclusion, migration and finance in relation to the impacts of climate change Pacific communities are grappling with, and the importance of regional policy recognition for issues including effective border control and support for indigenous people’s rights.
We must be relentless in our efforts to end violence against women and girls. With the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence coming to an end for 2017 we must maintain our focus on the work that needs to be done.
The past 16 days has seen a flurry of activities related to the issue of gender-based violence and personally, I was reminded of a question posed by a woman journalist in Samoa at the end of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum who, acknowledging the beginning of my second term as secretary general, of the Pacific Islands Forum asked if I felt my position has made any difference to women in the region.
I had to tell her: No. I didn't think that I'd given as much as I could during my first term. Implicit in my remarks is a commitment to do a lot more in this particular area, building on the momentum of access to civil society at forum leaders' decision-making tables.
This week the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the UN Women Multi-Country Office co-hosted a talanoa exploring effective Pacific approaches to address the issue of violence against women and girls.