The Pacific has called for more recognition of the critical role of women and girls in climate resilience at the opening plenary sessions of the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Pacific Islands Forum, Fiji Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Satyendra Prasad called on the international community to take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reiterating Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ grave concern for the Blue Pacific Continent’s collective future as global emissions continue to rise.
“The shared prosperity and security of our Blue Pacific can only safely exist if we pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the Paris Agreement”
Ambassador Prasad emphasised the critical role of women and girls in building resilient communities. “Recognising women’s and girls’ knowledge, capabilities, and skills, and empowering them, is vital to the safety and security of all Pacific families,” he said, “In Pacific communities, women have a history of adapting to climate change impacts to provide food and water for their families”.
Despite the many achievements in the region, Ambassador Prasad stated more still needs to be done. “The Pacific has one of the highest rates of violence globally. On average, two out of every three women experience some form of violence throughout their life. Evidence indicates a link between disasters, climate change, and gender-based violence and we have seen increased reports of domestic violence cases and the need for psycho-social support after disasters.”
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Mr. Henry Puna welcomed the Pacific statement. Noting the inaugural Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders Meeting will convene in 2022, Secretary General Puna says the event will continue to ensure gender equality and social inclusion are embedded in actions to progress forum leaders’ priorities including climate and disaster risk resilience actions.
CSW66 runs as a hybrid conference until 25 March 2022, with member states, UN entities, and non-governmental organisations from around the world contributing to the session and an array of side events.
This year’s theme is, ‘Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes’.
Feature image credit: Pacific Islands Forum