Capacity-building for Women to Strengthen Pacific Voice at COP23 Negotiations

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Suva (22 August 2017) – Twenty eight women representing twelve. Forum island countries are in Suva this week to participate in a climate change negotiators workshop in preparation for their active and effective participation at the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) meeting in Bonn (Germany) later this year.
Supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the 4-day workshop will be hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and facilitated by the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). This is the second workshop being held in 2017 focused on amplifying Pacific women’s voices in climate diplomacy.
Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment, Mr. Patrick Suckling shared: “Australia is committed to increasing the influence of women in driving solutions to climate change. Linking our action on gender equality and climate change is not just the right thing to do, it is essential to the transition to a more resilient low emissions future.”
“We are proud to be supporting the Fourth Pacific Women Climate Change Negotiators Workshop attended by the next generation of climate leaders from the Pacific. This investment takes on new significance with Fiji’s COP23 Presidency and the importance of supporting a strong Pacific voice at the first Pacific COP.”
This was echoed by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Deputy Secretary General, Cristelle Pratt who underlined the implications of the training for effective participation of women at both global and regional levels.
Ms Pratt said that through the training, one particular vulnerable stakeholder grouping – women, children and the family unit – would now be part of the decision-making processes related to the impact of climate change.
“You are leaders in your own right, and as women you add value to the inclusive and human rights-based approach that our leaders are promoting,” Ms Pratt told participants.
The workshop is a response to growing evidence of issues stemming from intersections between gender equality and a changing climate, and the critical role women negotiators can play in addressing them.
WEDO has been supporting the leadership of women in the UN climate negotiations for nearly a decade now via a program entitled: Women Delegates Fund (WDF). The Fund provides both direct travel support to women to attend the climate change meetings, as well as capacity building opportunities such as this workshop.
“Women’s equal participation in climate change decision-making is fundamental to just policies that reflect and respond to the needs of the global community. Investing in women’s participation and leadership in the UN climate negotiations is the first step,” Bridget Burns, WEDO Co-Director said.
The past several years of international climate change negotiations, occurring parallel to global milestones such as the endorsement of the new 17 sustainable development goals, nations have established the need to promote gender equality and protect women’s human rights for effective action on climate change.
Ms Pratt spoke of inclusivity and human rights-based approaches to how risks to development is managed across all sectors and stakeholders shared in the publication “The Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific: An integrated approach to address Climate Change and Disaster risk Management”.
“Our Leaders have consistently advocated for collective efforts globally and across all stakeholder groups as essential to overcome the challenges of climate change, so it is only fitting that the regional model clearly reflects an inclusive and human rights based approach,” she said.
Ms Pratt added: “The Forum Secretariat is always proud to support and be a part of this initiative.”
Following the training, participants from each of the twelve countries represented will attend the COP23 negotiations in Bonn, Germany. The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be organized by Fiji and hosted by UNFCCC at its headquarters in Bonn.
For more information:
Vera Zhou, WEDO –
Ariela Zibiah, Forum Secretariat –
Fiji, Tuvalu, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Cook Islands, Palau, Niue, Samoa, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu

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