Partnerships with civil society organisations a key to sustainable development

Civil society organisations (CSOs) may work in diverse areas but they all share special understanding and experience of the issues they focus on. The value of partnerships with CSOs and the connections between gender, effective climate change responses and sustainable development are the subject of a forum in Nadi, Fiji, with participants from 13 Pacific Island countries.


Over 30 representatives from Pacific CSOs, including youth organisations, are taking part in a two-day civil society forum as part of the week-long meeting, ‘Pacific Partnerships to Strengthen Gender, Climate Change Response and Sustainable Development’, convened by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Diverse Voices and Action for Equality and the Pacific Youth Council.


The two-day workshop is part of efforts to engage with CSOs to strategically advance a transformative development agenda that is inclusive of gender equality, climate justice and sustainable development and to strengthen CSO advocacy positions in communicating with states, United Nations agencies, regional organisations and each other.


Forum participants will be joined mid-week by representatives of national machineries for women before the week ends with a high-level meeting on 13 June chaired by the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Honourable Enele Sopoaga.


The session on mapping CSO roles in local, national and international advocacy processes was facilitated by Kathryn Tobin from the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation of the United Nations. Describing the session as extremely useful, Kairangi Samuela, Head of the Punanga Tauturu in the Cook Islands said, ‘It was great to look at the language used at this level of negotiation and understand how it may be negotiated, and to also understand the implications that it may have on implementation.’


Milikini Failautusi from the Tuvalu National Youth Council echoed the same sentiments and agreed on the need for training for CSOs and young people to better equip them in negotiations. She was a member of the Tuvalu government delegation to the Conference of Population and Development in New York in March and said the training she received in the past two days was crucial to effective partnerships with governments, particularly on sensitive issues such as climate change, means of implementation and peaceful societies.


The Forum’s central message of effective, just and sustainable partnerships is demonstrated by the widely representation of partners attending including Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN); UN Women, Fiji Multi-Country Office; Fiji Women’s Rights Movement; Women’s Major Group on Sustainable Development; Dag Hammarskjold Foundation; Global Fund for Women; Heinrich Boll Foundation; Women in Europe for a Common Future; and the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA). Many other organisations and individuals have provided expertise and financial and other resources.


The meeting is being held from 9 to 13 June, 2014, at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, Fiji.

Caption: Matelita Houa, Tonga National Youth Council, addresses the forum.