The Pacific Community (SPC) has signed a major partnership agreement with the Government of Sweden, which has pledged to provide financial assistance to support the organisation’s human rights programme with advancing human rights and people-centred development in the Pacific.
For more than two decades, SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) has been a home-grown pioneer of human rights and gender capacity-building with Pacific states, providing direct assistance to help end violence against women, achieve access to justice for all, promote human rights and good governance and support civil society action and participation.
“This agreement is a major milestone for our organisation and we are pleased that the Government of Sweden shares our vision for a socially just and equitable Pacific Islands society based on human rights principles, and has matched this commitment with material action. It is my hope that our work together will leave an enduring legacy: the practical realisation of human rights for all Pacific Islanders,” said SPC Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga.
Sweden’s support to SPC’s RRRT programme forms an integral part of Sweden’s Strategy for Regional Development Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific Region 2017-2021, which envisions strengthening the ability of Pacific states and civil society to address transboundary challenges and seize opportunities in the areas of human rights, gender equality, environmental justice and climate resilience.
“We are excited with this new partnership with SPC/RRRT focusing on the advancement of democracy and human rights, especially in relation to gender equality, environmental and climate change challenges. It fits well with the aim of the strategy: to contribute to sustainable development by working regionally, through mutual interaction between human rights, democracy, gender equality, environment and climate change,” said Anne-Charlotte Malm, Head of Development Cooperation, Regional Asia and the Pacific at the Embassy of Sweden, Bangkok.
The agreement will advance the core objectives of RRRT’s Business Plan until 2021, namely: to promote good governance and human rights standards; to end violence against women; and to support local action for sustainable development. This includes new areas of work, such as incorporating gender and human rights education into school curricula, and supporting faith-based action to end violence against women.
The agreement enables RRRT to support Pacific states to respond to new and emerging issues, such as the human rights impacts of climate change. By working within SPC, which supports member states with climate change adaptation and resilience initiatives, RRRT is able to ensure that the rights of those affected are front and centre of the climate change agenda.
“In the Pacific, climate change poses a threat to the realization of human rights and, if not addressed, create risks of reversed development gains and increased vulnerability for already poor people. We are convinced that this partnership is a good way for Sweden to contribute to address these challenges in the Pacific,” Malm said.
Sweden’s support further bolsters RRRT’s resources to integrate a people-centred, sustainable and equitable development across SPC’s scientific and technical programmes.
“Our work is about supporting regional action, and harnessing local energy to drive change and deliver sustainable development outcomes for all the peoples of the Pacific. This would be impossible without the support of outside development partners. Our new partnership with Sweden enables us to continue to realise this vision, and pursue a more complete human rights support agenda that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” said SPC RRRT Acting Director Nicol Cave.
RRRT has operated for over 20 years as the Pacific’s premier human rights programme. Through a team of regional advisors and Country Focal Officers based in SPC member states, RRRT provides a comprehensive suite of policy and legislative advice, technical assistance and capacity building to support Pacific states to respond effectively to priority human rights areas such as gender equality, ending violence against women and children, disability rights, climate change and equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.
Onorina Saukelo, RRRT Communications Assistant, [email protected] or +679 330 5582.