Honourable Isaia Vaipuna Taape
Minister for Health, Social Welfare & Gender Affairs
Sixty-Seven Session of the Commission on the Status of WomenUnited Nations
Monday 6th March 2023
On behalf of the Government and people of Tuvalu, I congratulate you for taking this role in leading us throughout the work of the Commission. Tuvalu wishes to align its statement to the Pacific Islands Forum’s statement.
Chair, Digital development has had a direct economic benefit for our island country. You may know that Tuvalu internet country code top-level domain, ‘dot tv’, provides significant incomes to the country and was used to acquire our membership to the United Nations. As a result, I can be here with you today and share the priorities of women and girls of Tuvalu.
Chair, the government of Tuvalu acknowledges the significant contribution of women to the development of our country, the resilience of our communities, and the well-being of our families. In the last three years, people of Tuvalu faced many struggles due to the COVID19 pandemic, nine months of drought, and a recent outbreak of typhoid and dengue. We believe that our capacity to deal with those events is due to our strong community ties guided by our Tuvaluan values of olaga fakafenua(interdependence), paatagasi (fair and equitable treatment), lototasi (working together), aava (respect) and filemu (peace and harmony).
Chair, our priorities in Tuvalu for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity in the digital age remain:
The support to the economic empowerment of women.
The promotion of women’s participation in decisions making at all levels and in all areas of life.
And the protection and support to women and girls against gender-based violence.
Our government acknowledges that those are conditions to achieve our sustainable development goals and build the resilience of our communities. Therefore, we continue our efforts to mainstream gender equity across our public policies, programs, and services. We also work hand in hand with our civil society to challenge harmful social norms and gender stereotypes. Chair, Our National Strategy for Sustainable Development, the Te Kete, priorities people’s access to affordable and reliable telecommunication services, the development of inclusive digital economy, and the development of reliable, secure and safe digital environment. In Tuvalu, 88 per cent of households own a mobile phone and 62 per cent have access to internet at home. 78 per cent of women own a mobile phone and 66 per cent use internet at least once a week. Interestingly, women use internet and carry out computer related activities more often than men.
Chair, Climate change has a devastating impact on our land, on our way of life, in our culture, and on our very own existence. Therefore, it remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of Pacific people including my own country Tuvalu being at the forefront. This year’s priority theme is particularly relevant for Tuvalu as we are shaping our future and digitizing our country in the context of climate change under our “Future Now” project. It includes, among other things, the establishment of digital archives of Tuvalu’s history and cultural practices to create a digital nation.
In fact, we are preparing ourselves for the worst-case scenario of sea level rise and the real possibility of our land’s disappearance in the near future because of the lenient attitude of many countries towards the impacts of climate change. Chair, we must recognize that the digital revolution produces a considerable amount of e-waste and demand substantial energy. We are all suffering from the adverse impacts of climate change that is the result of the industrial revolution. Therefore, we urge public and private sectors stakeholders to develop energy efficient and sustainable technologies to limit e-waste and reduce the emission of GHG in line with our international commitments of the Paris Agreement. Chair, we urge the Commission to propose concrete measures to protect women and girls’ freedom of opinion and expression online, while adopting strong measures to prevent and protect everyone from any form of online gender-based violence and financial scams.
Chair I thank you fakafetai lasi.–ENDS
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