Remarks by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum at the Non -State Actor Regional Capacity Building Workshop

REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL

Opening of the Non-State Actor Regional Capacity Building Workshop

15 February 2021

 

Good morning to you all.

I am pleased to join you this morning at the beginning of what undoubtedly will be an informative discussion on the merit, value and practice of gender responsive budgeting, practical skills on budget analysis and gender budget analysis tools.

Our region, as you are well aware, continues to lag in gender representation and the progress of gender issues, as compared to other regions in the world.

Sound evidence-based policy and strong political will is essential to to inform sustained policy changes in our Governments.

What you will learn over the course of the week will contribute to your ability to critically analyse policy and will saddle you with the tools you will require to begin to progress strong evidence-based policy advice to support your community advocacy and programmes.

Ultimately, what we should hope to achieve is to encourage and strengthen the practice of incorporating gender-sensitive perspectives in the national planning and budgeting processes of our countries.

Why is this so important for us here in the Pacific? 

Achieving gender equality continues to be hampered by structural and underlying social, cultural and economic barriers.

Despite the progress made in recent years, there remains a significant gap between men and women’s economic participation.  Also, issues such as gender-based violence remains a major concern in the region.

This year, we will facilitate an independent review of the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration. This is an opportunity to take stock of our commitments and how we have tracked against this, but more importantly, it is an opportunity to explore what has worked and what has not worked and refocus our national and regional programmes accordingly.

I also note the recent decision by Leaders to establish an annual Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders Meeting. This will be a valuable platform to have a political discussion on how best we can address our gender challenges.

This week’s workshop goals recognise the importance of stakeholder engagement in policy development and analysis; it recognises the value of the role of civil society in continually engaging with government stakeholders to monitor policy commitments. Indeed, I would hope that through this workshop, you will acquire the understanding to effectively track and monitor government policies.

I encourage you to make use of the opportunities during these workshops to develop stronger partnerships with country partners, including government to meaningfully engage in the tracking and monitoring of the Gender and EVAWG Policy and commitments by authorities in your countries and in the region.

At this juncture, allow me to acknowledge the European Union for its consistent and robust support on gender issues and strengthened civil society engagement in the Pacific. Indeed, this workshop and the related technical material has been made possible through the European Union’s support to the Pacific Partnership and the Technical Cooperation and Capacity Building Facility through the 11th EDF.

Last but not least, allow me to also commend and reaffirm my acknowledgement of the work progressed by the Pacific Partnership and the exciting and transformative initiatives that our partners at UN Women and the Pacific Community continue to implement with governments, faith-based groups, sports bodies and schools to strengthen the protection of our women and girls and to end the violence.

I wish you all a successful week ahead with great pleasure declare the PIFS NSA Regional Capacity Building Policy Workshop on Gender Responsive Budgeting, officially open.

I thank you.

-ENDS-

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