Check Against Delivery
Opening Remarks by Pacific Community Deputy Director General Dr. Audrey Aumua
Pre-Launch of International Women's Day & Celebration of 25th Anniversary of Pacific Platform for Action on Gender Equality and Women's Human Rights
SPC Nabua Campus, Suva, Fiji
Honourable Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation;
Excellencies and Heads of Missions and High Commissions;
Heads and representatives of regional and international organisations;
Heads and representatives of civil society organisations and Development partners;
Ladies and gentlemen,
I want to begin by acknowledging our special guest, Honourable Minister Vuniwaqa, for gracing us with her presence and for making time to share a few words and insights at this event, thank you Minister.
I also want to acknowledge the representatives of our member countries who are here and I want to thank you for your enduring efforts to strengthen our engagement, so we may continue to respond to your needs and work with you to achieve your development outcomes.
Furthermore I want to acknowledge our partners across CROP, the UN and our other development partners present here today for the collaboration and partnerships which allow us to operate and assist our Pacific people in a more coordinated fashion.
Our gathering this evening marks the launch of some special events for our women in the Pacific. It is the eve of International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world on the 8th March; and more importantly, 2019 is the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Pacific Platform for Action on Gender Equality and Human Rights or the PPA. The PPA, as you know, is a historical instrument which our member countries made a commitment to 25 years ago, as our region was preparing to attend the 4th World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995.
Since then, SPC has provided leadership across the region to promote gender equality and to facilitate technical support to advance the agenda for women through the PPA. From 1994, we have had two reviews of the PPA. Both reviews engaged our member countries and territories to enable a canvassing of views and perspectives that has helped mould the PPA into what it is today; to ensure that the regional policy framework for gender equality responds to the challenges on the ground for women and girls, as well as providing a platform for attracting investments and generating a rigorous and robust monitoring, evaluation, reflection and learning culture that speaks to our progress and applies our learning for better results.
Ladies and gentlemen, it would be amiss of me not to acknowledge that SPC, even before the PPA was launched in 1994, was engaged in championing and addressing gender equality in the Pacific. If you recall, the establishment of the Community Education Training Centre (or CETC) in September 1963, was one of the best examples of SPC meeting the needs of the region and it was the leading regional training institution. A large number of our women, and more so, young women, graduated with a wide range of community and social development skills. CETC graduates have contributed to their communities in a diverse range of ways: from leading community based trainings themselves, engaging in entrepreneurial and income generating activities to some moving into leadership roles in different sectors of their societies. The CETC training programme was grounded in the principles of the PPA through increasing opportunities for women, including in women’s economic empowerment, leadership, health, nutrition and food security.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to raise our flag in celebrating the Pacific Platform for Action, which for us is not only a symbol of the legacy of Pacific Women as icons for development; but it is also a manifestation of our leaders vision and commitment to advancing gender equality as an integral pre-requisite to achieving our sustainable development outcomes.
This evening, therefore, is a celebration, it’s an opportunity for reflection and it’s an occasion to share a prayer of thanksgiving for the engagement of our members, for the support of our civil society and development partners and for all our collective efforts to embrace our regional agenda for gender equality, as stated in the Pacific Platform for Action.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I want to again thank you for your support and confidence over the years and look forward to the next 25 years and beyond, made possible through a spirit of collaboration and partnership to advance equal outcomes for all in the Pacific. I wish you an enjoyable evening.
Vinaka Vaka Levu!