REMARKS: Acting SG Manoni welcomes 16 Days Blue Pacific Talanoa Webinar

Welcome Remarks

by the Pacific Islands Forum

Acting Secretary General, Dr Filimon Manoni


Blue Pacific Talanoa Webinars for the People

Resilience and Gender-Based Violence in the Blue Pacific–

What does a future without violence look like?

10am Friday 09 December 2022

Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

Bula Vinaka from Suva

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to this Blue Pacific Talanoa Series on What does a future without violence look like?

Our Talanoa topic today is one that should generate discussion and thinking on what we envisage as a safe and secure Blue Pacific Continent.

Today we are privileged to hear from young people of our region. At the Forum Secretariat, we value the voices of our young people as they are a critical part of ensuring that our leader’s vision for a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity is achieved.

Young people play an important role in regional policy building under the inclusion and equity strategic pathway of the 2050 Strategy. Involving youths in this type of exchange is a step in the right direction to ensure that all voices are heard and that the right policy choices are made to protect our vulnerable population. They are young leaders of today and future decision makers for our Blue Pacific Continent.

The 2022 theme for 16 days of activism is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls”. This theme should inspire the region to engage all Pacific peoples to do our part to address violence within our homes, places of work, communities, and our region.

This year at the Forum Secretariat we have continued to actively engage in addressing gender-based violence and gender inequality by ensuring that inclusivity and equality is mainstreamed across our work streams.

While the focus of this webinar is to envision a future without violence, it is important that we recognize that violence is an all too present reality, and one that is deeply linked to broader inequalities.

In that respect, a key piece of work for the Secretariat in 2022 has been the revitalization of the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration (PLGED), which has featured a robust and inclusive consultation process to ensure the next iteration of the Declaration reflects our current realties and context – including climate change and disasters, and other multipliers such as COVID-19, all of which have implications for violence within our communities.

But aside from this new context, some of our old and enduring challenges remain – and these require unpacking. Political commitment towards gender issues waxes and wanes. And patriarchy and societal and cultural issues remain firmly embedded, preventing meaningful forward movement on these issues.

The 2050 strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent provides the guiding framework for us to move forward, in this regard, and our work in the area of gender equality and social inclusion is anchored within the strategy and its underlying theory of change and transformation.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretariat has been active in marking 16 days of Activism over the last couple years. This year we have had a social media campaign with messages on ending violence against women, an informal talanoa, an art exhibition and this important webinar. By having various activities that engage with a wide range of stakeholders we aim to do our part to advocate against gender-based violence.

We will also continue our advocacy through our weekly Thursday in Black messaging in solidarity with survivors of gender-based violence.

For today’s discussion I ask you, our young people to be open, honest and frank in sharing your thoughts on what your vision is for a future without violence. And frank about the things that must change to achieve this.

I wish you well in your deliberations, and I thank you for taking the time to engage in this conversation with us.

Thank you.–ENDS



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