BY BEN BILUA
AUSTRALIAN Government has committed AUD170 million towards women empowerment programme in the Pacific.
Speaking during the opening of the 14th Triennial Conference on Tuesday, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Honourable Marise Payne said the new programme called Pacific Women Lead Australia will roll out in the next five years.
She said the new gender programme had gone through consultations with over 200 stakeholders from the government, civil society organisation and private sectors.
“We have co-designed among Pacific women a new approach to our regional gender program and Pacific women have shaped these programs,” Payne said.
She said the program adds to the work Australia have been doing with bilateral partners on gender and development.
Payne said Australia will work in partnership with regional pacific organisations and Pacific women’s funds and women organisations.
“It’s a flexible program designed to respond directly to partner’s needs.
“We want to build on our successes and learn from our experience for example Pacific Community’s (SPC) very good work on gender in fisheries that looked at women and men roles in the whole supply chain and really elevated our understanding on the critical role of women in fisheries and aquaculture.
“Will also focus on women’s rights on safety, on economic empowerment, on women’s health including sexual and reproductive health.
“The title of the Program ‘Pacific Women Lead’ reflects the importance of strengthening women’s leadership,” she said.
Payne said global challenges such as the COVID-19 and climate change requires Australia and Pacific Island States to use available resources and potentials to create a sustainable future.
She said Australia looks forward to play an active role to deepening its ongoing partnership in the region to accelerate progress on gender equality for women and girl.
“Will continue to support programs such as empower women, providing training and enabling women leaders of all pacific islands to represent and advocate for example climate policies.
“I hope the discussion during the triennial can deliver practical suggestions on these issues. We are ambitious over the next three days,” Payne said.