Deputy Secretary General Andie Fong Toy’s Opening Remarks at the Climate Change Negotiation Workshop for Pacific Island Women

Suva, Fiji

6 June 2016

Participants and officials from member governments
Representatives of the Australian National University, UN agencies CROP agencies, donor partners and civil society
Staff of the Forum Secretariat;
Ladies and gentlemen
Good morning and welcome to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
It is an honour to open this Climate Change Negotiation Workshop for Pacific Island Women, to be held over the next four days.
Climate change and gender equality are both key priorities for the region, with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their last meeting in Port Moresby reaffirming climate change as one of their top regional public policy priorities under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
Similarly in 2012, in Rarotonga, Leaders adopted the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration to place high importance on addressing gender inequalities.
As we all know climate change and gender are cross-cutting, thematic   development issues that must be addressed in an holistic manner.
Research continues to show that climate change and disasters disproportionately affect women and girls and exacerbate existing inequalities and discrimination.
Women’s work is harder when local resources are depleted and their safety is threatened when they have to, for example, walk further to fetch resources such as water. Therefore, climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies need to be gender responsive and women’s role as change agents and primary actor’s needs to be strengthened.
It is pleasing to note that the Paris Agreement adopted at the COP21 Conference in December last year recognises the importance of gender equality, empowerment of women, human rights, and indigenous peoples when taking action to address climate change.
The World Humanitarian Summit held just two weeks ago, in Istanbul, also featured women and gender equality very prominently.
As our region gears up for the UN General Assembly Meeting in September and the COP22 Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco in November; these types of training should provide useful input to strengthen your contribution to your delegations and to your participation in those upcoming meetings.
The Pacific Island Forum Secretariat acknowledges the Australian Government for funding this training and the Australian National University for leading it.
We are pleased to be a partner, building on the training convened last year for Pacific women, held at this same venue. We are also pleased to see other CROP agencies and representatives of other partner organisations actively participating this year.
The Pacific had a strong voice at COP21 last year, being informed by key aspects of the training outcomes from last year’s training, in particular those that relate to women and gender equality.
It is important that there is a session on Pacific gender, social issues and climate change, which will provide an opportunity for you to understand the particular gender and social issues and the importance of framing your national positions and language on these issues.
On an annual basis the Forum Secretariat supports members at the Commission on the Status of Women. Our members at the 61st Session held last March called for climate change funding priorities to be gender responsive.
We must all continue to elevate our advocacy on climate change and to promote women’s participation and leadership in climate change and related meetings.
The skills that you gain from this workshop can be used as you engage at COP and other UN multilateral processes. We look forward to seeing more Pacific women on government delegations at COP22.
With those brief remarks I wish each of you fruitful discussions over the next 4 days. Thank you.

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