What’s on the agenda for 2009?

First up this year was a meeting of the Project Advisory Committee for the Gender Based Violence and Child Abuse project which is underway in Kiribati and Solomon Islands. The Committee met in January to review the progress of the project and outline its future direction. The reports on the studies are currently being finalised and will be published later this year.


In March, HDP’s Gender Equality Adviser, Treva Braun, attended the 53rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW53). HDP provided technical support and assistance to Pacific Island country (PIC) delegations attending the meeting. This year 10 PICs, as well as Australia and New Zealand, were represented at the Commission and their participation was commended by governments, UN agencies in New York and women from around the region.


Also in March, Culture Adviser Elise Huffer, met with representatives from other regional and international agencies including the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), to map out the implementation of traditional knowledge protection in six PICs.


One of the programme’s major activities this year is to assist Fiji Islands to host the Pacific Youth Festival in July. Youth Adviser Rose Maebiru is working closely with the festival organising committee to coordinate SPC’s contribution. HDP, in collaboration with other SPC programmes, is assisting with the promotion of the festival, participating in planning committees, providing liaison and communication support to participating countries and territories, and designing an HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) awareness campaign with youth representatives from several Pacific Island countries and territories.


The programme has also begun preparing for the 11th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 4th Ministerial Meeting on Women, a major event coming up next year. The event will be hosted by the government of Tonga. The HDP will organise preparatory meetings in conjunction with the Conference of the Pacific Community (SPC’s governing council) and CRGA (Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations) meeting to be held in Tonga this year.


In the culture arena, the programme has begun work to assist Solomon Islands with its preparations for the next Festival of Pacific Arts in 2012. It is currently providing support in the areas of events management and intellectual property issues. This year HDP will also be commissioning an evaluation of the Festival of Pacific Arts to measure its cultural, economic and social impacts on host and participating countries and territories over the past three festivals (hosted by New Caledonia, Palau and American Samoa). The study, funded through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will particularly evaluate the contribution of the festival to safeguarding and promoting intangible cultural heritage.

The programme will also be commissioning another culture study to assist in the development of a regional cultural strategy. Known as the Pacific Valuation of Culture Study, this study will propose a methodology for how to value culture in the Pacific along the four pillars of the Pacific Plan.


Toward the middle of the year HDP will participate in the 2nd Annual Gender and Development Partners meeting. Participants will discuss issues including improved collaboration on gender and development work in the Pacific, and the programme of next year’s 11th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women.


Also in the area of gender, HDP will coordinate a number of surveys to measure the capacity of ministries and departments responsible for gender issues and women’s empowerment and other government counterparts to mainstream gender throughout government. These surveys will take place in five PICs.


In the French territories the programme plans to run workshops on gender indicators to assist with reporting on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Human Development Adviser Aliti Vunisea will also conduct training on the participation of women in politics for SPC members in the North Pacific. The training will be run in collaboration with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).


At HDP’s Community Education and Training Centre (CETC) the 2009 programme is well underway. In addition to its annual seven-month community development course, activities include several in-country training courses in business enterprise skills and two training of trainers courses. CETC is also working on strengthening its management of business trainers network and providing a more effective delivery system with support from the Commonwealth Secretariat. Discussions are also taking place to franchise CETC courses in Tonga and Vanuatu. In the latter, CETC will also conduct an impact assessment of its graduates.


Throughout the year, the programme will also be continuing its policy review and development work in the areas of youth, culture and gender. Another significant activity is its participation in SPC’s Joint Country Strategy missions which aim to outline, in one integrated document, the full scope of the organisation’s assistance to individual SPC members over a defined period, based on the country’s own priorities and national development strategy.