Isabel benefits from Gender Responsive Peacebuilding in Extractive Industries programme

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WITH the launching of the Gender Responsive Peacebuilding in Extractive Industries programme on Wednesday, Isabel province will be directly benefiting.

International Organization Migration IOM Chief of Mission Australia, New Zealand and Coordinator for Pacific Islands Countries Par Liljert, speaking via zoom during the launch, said the programme has been conceptualised and developed utilising the results and lessons learned from previous UN programming in the Solomon Islands and across the Pacific region.

This is regarding the Solomon Islands Community Health and Mobility in the Pacific Report (or CHAMP Report) has provided extensive analysis on these particular dynamics, providing data and evidence on the issue. The report included key recommendations for communities, service provision, government bodies and protective services. Specifically, this programme will work at addressing recommendations on community mobilisation and service provision.

He said currently, in the Isabel province, only one civil society organisation is able to provide gender-based violence and justice support and with the launching of the programme will directly increase the availability of these services.

IOM Chief of Mission explained that the community mobilisation programme will work directly with local communities to identify leaders in each community, in particular women who will be upskilled to contribute to responding to increased rates of gender-based violence. Similarly, the programme will address the CHAMP recommendation to create channels for community-based reporting to formal justice representatives.

Liljert also said that Service provision, the programme will address needs to increase services that are provided on issues of gender-based violence (GBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health (SHR), safety, PSS and Justice Services to remote and isolated areas.

“We are proud to respond to the Solomon Islands Government’s request for help in implementing these key recommendations. Recognising the importance and value of this programme IOM has mobilised its own additional resourcing through the IOM Development Fund to make this programme a reality”, Mr Liljert said.

The programme will operate under three broad outcome areas. One: It will strive to create an enabling environment to support women’s human rights and participation of women in community-based peacebuilding processes. This will include both women and young women. Such activities will include building capacity of organisations and community leaders to engage in meaningful dialogue with women, and also boosting women’s awareness of their rights in peacebuilding and leadership skills. This action is important due to the prevalence of current social and gender norms throughout the Solomon Islands and institutionalized values which generally disempower women and girls.  

 Secondly, the programme will focus on ensuring women and young women are able to drive change within their communities through peacebuilding dialogues. For example, eco-peacebuilding groups will be formed in targeted communities and led by women alongside young women to represent women’s rights in dialogues with the private sector and government officials. Environmental peacebuilding is based on the principle that our common dependency on natural resources and a healthy environment facilitates cooperation between societies and can therefore foster the process of peacebuilding in conflict regions. Furthermore, formal and informal dispute resolution mechanisms will be readily accessible to women and young women. Women are currently often excluded from peacebuilding activities so this action will directly address this.  

The third part of the programming will focus on coordinating between civil society organisations and governments to improve the quality-of-service provision to women who face violates due to conflict dynamics between community and extractive industries and workers.  

Meanwhile, Dr Jennifer Butler Director for UNFPA Pacific Sub Regional Office also highlighted that the programme will contribute to gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment in a number of fundamental ways.

She said it will increase women’s participation in peacebuilding processes which will serve to mitigate the impact of extractive industries on women and young women through representation and resolution of key issues, including sexual exploitation. It will also challenge the gendered norms which discriminate and to date, have prevented women’s participation. Mobilisation of the community around shifting attitudes, practices and beliefs around gendered norms will transform the space provided to women which will serve to support a shift in gender equality and women’s empowerment more broadly.

The launching was done yesterday at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara.