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Ocean management, resilient and sustainable development, and ending violence against women were three key issues raised by the Pacific Islands Forum as it addressed the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York.
“Our women and girls are connected to the ocean, coasts and marine resources and are active agents and custodians,” said Minister Charmaine Scotty of Nauru who delivered the Forum’s statement.
“We recognise the importance of protecting our Ocean, seas and marine resources, and the role that they have for our women and girls as drivers for economic opportunities, good health and livelihoods. We call upon other states to work with us in recognizing, resourcing and supporting programmes that advance gender equality and women’s rights in all economic activities, including sustainable fisheries management”
Minister Scotty highlighted the role the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific can play in promoting economic empowerment in the region saying, “it recognises the critical role of integrating gender considerations, and advocates for equitable participation of women and men. It has the potential to transform the world of work for our women.”
Acknowledging the high prevalence of violence against women both globally and in the Pacific region, Minister Scotty expressed the urgency of efforts towards prevention if the region is to meet the goals and targets of the SDGs in the next 13 years.
The Commission plays a critical role in accelerating the implementation of commitments to gender equality and an important role in strengthening implementation of the 2030 agenda. The theme for this year’s meeting is ‘women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work’.
“Forum Leaders have committed to removing barriers to women’s employment and participation in the formal and informal sectors, and removing laws that limit women’s access to employment opportunities or contribute to discriminatory pay conditions for women. There are commitments towards implementing equal employment opportunity, women’s leadership in public and private boards, women’s safe, fair and equal participation in local economies, entrepreneurship opportunities and development, and increased access to finance, land and productive resources,” said Minister Scotty.
“The Pacific Islands Forum is committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment. This is embedded in our Pacific Leaders’ decisions and policy frameworks on fisheries, climate change and disaster resilient development and ICT connectivity and improving economic opportunities and livelihoods for women and girls including those with disabilities.”
The chair of the Bureau for the for the 61st Session of the Commission of the Status of Women, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota said this year’s gathering is a clear expression of the strong commitment to gender equality and women’s human rights by political leaders, specialist advocates and champions.
The UN Secretary General expressed a deep gratitude towards those raising the voices of women’s equality and dignity and said there is an important role for men as advocates for women’s empowerment. Secretary General Guterres encouraged senior leaders to be part of the International Gender Champions campaign.
The President of the General Assembly, Peter Thompson, also Fiji’s Ambassador at the United Nations, spoke from the heart saying “as some of you know, all my grandchildren are girls. As they grow toward adulthood, I cannot abide the thought that they will not enjoy full and equal rights with their male peers… and I turn to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which has specific targets and timeframes”.
The 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women continues until the 24th of March.
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