Blue Pacific/Caribbean CSW High-Level Event
66th Session on Commission on Status of Women
Virtual and streamed simultaneously on Facebook and You Tube
5.00pm – 7.00pm New York/Barbados Time, Thursday 24 March 2022
“Pacific and Caribbean women leaders championing climate finance and the ocean-climate nexus”
Remarks by the Hon. Rosy Akbar, Minister for Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation, Fiji
. Hon Fiame Mataafa, Prime Minister of Samoa
· Hon Evelyn Wevers- Croes, Prime Minister of Aruba
· Dr Carla N. Barnett, Secretary General of CARICOM
· Director General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen-Director General of Forum Fisheries Agency.
· Ms Ruth Spencer, Head of The Equality and Justice Alliance and Global Network for Disaster Risk Reduction The Equality Fund – Antigua and Barbuda
· Ms Evangelista Apelis, Sea Women of Melanesia
· Ms Ayesha Constable, Global Advisor to FRIDA
· Ms Elchung Hideoyos of Palau
Ni sa bula Vinaka. Warm greetings from the Pacific this morning. I am delighted to be part of the opening formalities supporting this Pacific side event.
2. As representative of the Pacific Islands Forum Chair, Fiji, it is my privilege and great pleasure to participate in this panel and share some remarks alongside my esteemed colleagues
from Samoa and Aruba and especially because this side event focuses on climate finance, ocean management, and gender-responsive climate-resilient policies.
3. Small Island Developing States, such as those in the Blue Pacific and the Caribbean Community, confront particular economic and fiscal challenges and are among the world’s most vulnerable to climate-related disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues, particularly for the tourism-dependent economies of both regions, where women account for 50-75 percent of the workforce.
4. Women leaders from the Pacific and Caribbean are driving the global campaign for action to mitigate vulnerabilities to climate change impacts and effectively build forward equally from COVID-19.
5. However, women and girls, in all their diversity, continue to be disproportionately impacted by climate change and related disasters and still they continue to be absent in decision-making processes further exacerbating gender inequalities.
6. In addition to this, COP26 recognized that the impacts of climate change are not gender-neutral and that is why it is important to increase investment in women and girls’ participation in climate action and climate financing for those most at risk to the impacts of climate change.
7. The Pacific people are the custodians of 42 million square kilometres of Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean covers around 2,754,000 square kilometres. Furthermore, the ocean plays an important role in the lives of many women throughout the Pacific and Caribbean, serving as a source of food, livelihood, transportation, and identity. Women from the Pacific and Caribbean are increasingly taking on technical and professional responsibilities in the marine and fisheries sectors to contribute to our ocean’s knowledge and conservation.
9. It is because of this that we need inclusive financing for small island states including countries in the Blue Pacific and the Caribbean that addresses renewable energy, infrastructure investments, and climate resilience that has a gender lens. Additionally, we also need gender-responsive policies and effective COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives in the context of the impacts of climate change.
10. Ladies and gentlemen, your presence here today demonstrates your commitment to ensuring that the voices of women and girls are heard on issues of climate change. And together we recognize that empowering women’s and girls’ knowledge, capabilities, and skills is vital to the safety and security of our communities.
11. Before I conclude, allow me to acknowledge the organisers of this event and I wish you all well for today.
12. Vinaka vakalevu and thank you.