There are numerous national and regional stakeholders throughout the Pacific who are working hard to promote women in politics. At the national level, within Pacific Governments, Departments of Women often lead work to support women in politics, while National Councils of Women are also key actors, along with a range of other civil society organisations. A number of regional organisations work in partnership with local organisations. It has been a common suggestion that support organisations should improve coordination of their activities. To this end, this page seeks to share information on key organisations in the region who support women in politics activities that involve Pacific women.
The Auckland 2004 Forum Leaders call to address the low levels of women in decision-making, within the framework of the Pacific Plan and consistent with the Pacific Platform for Action and its emerging critical areas of concern. In support of this mandate, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat supports a range of activities at the national, sub-regional and regional level to promote women's political participation in the Pacific. In 2014, the Pacific Plan was re-launched as the Framework for Pacific Regionalism. For more information, click here.
The Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) is an initiative of the Australian aid program that supports influential Pacific leaders to shape and lead developmental change.
PLP recognises the pivotal role that leadership plays at all levels in a nation’s path to development, and the importance of collective efforts to bring about inclusive and durable change for the public good. It identifies influential individuals, organisations and coalitions in the Pacific and supports them in their exercise of ‘developmental leadership’ – that is, leadership involving collective action for the public good resulting in legitimate policies and effective institutions. PLP also invests in sharing lessons and building knowledge of Pacific developmental leadership.
The Program employs a political economy approach to development, recognising the roles of context, history and agency in determining how collective action can affect policies and legislation. PLP is adaptive, learning iteratively from program experience as well as from international research, with an emphasis on developmental leadership practice in the Pacific.
Since 2008 PLP has supported developmental leadership efforts regionally, nationally and sub-nationally in Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. The Program secretariat is based in Suva, Fiji.
UNDP is a global organisation committed to supporting UN member states and their people to achieve their national development goals. UNDP's mandate is strongly committed to promoting gender equality in all its work, including through support for women in politics. In the Pacific, UNDP has three country offices - the UNDP Fiji Multi-Country Office (which covers Fiji, FSM, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), the UNDP Samoa Multi-Country Office (which covers Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau) and the UNDP PNG Country Office. Technical advisory services are provided to these offices by the UNDP Pacific Centre.
The Pacific Centre's Democratic Governance Team works closely with UNDP Country Offices, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and national stakeholders to support women in politics (including through the development and management of this website). UNDP worked closely with PIFS to support Mock Parliaments for Women. More broadly, UNDP Pacific offices support a number of national parliamentary strengthening projects, which offer opportunities for also promoting legislative and other reforms regarding women in politics. UNDP also supports candidates training, in collaboration with other partners, such as the Centre for Democratic Institutions.
The Gender Equality in Political Governance Programme (GEPG) is UN WOMEN Pacific’s major regional project in the key focus area of "Leadership and Participation". GEPG is a flagship programme for UN WOMEN Pacific and the AusAID Pacific Leadership Programme. It provides the community of practitioners working in governance in the Pacific with high-level gender expertise and experience and new strategic approaches to incorporate gender equality in governance in the region. The programme also provides the capacity to conduct quality research and develop and disseminate new knowledge to inform and strengthen work on gender equality in the context of governance across the Pacific Island countries.
GEPG is funded by AusAID with a contribution of AUS$6.2 million over a period of five years and also part-funded with UN WOMEN core funds. GEPG is supported to work regionally, sub-regionally, nationally and sub-nationally, and locally, serving 15 Pacific Island countries (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu). Additional presence and intensive outreach is provided to sub-national level in three Melanesian countries - PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu - where the status of women is low, the gender gap in all aspects of politics is high and the challenge to incorporate gender equality in governance is greatest.
GEPG provides technical assistance and training at all levels of society, and across key stakeholder groups and partner agencies, that share and contribute to building broad-based understanding of the democratic system of government; the role of elections, political parties, parliaments, local governments; the importance of constitutional provisions, laws, policies; and budgets related to governance institutions, mechanisms and processes. UNIFEM brings a gender perspective to this community of practitioners’ specialization, emphasizing, for example, the need to understand and focus on how different electoral systems limit or facilitate the inclusion and participation of women as both citizens and as leaders. For more information, click here.
Between 2012 and 2022, the initiative will support gender equality through partnerships with Pacific governments, civil society organisations, local advocacy groups, the private sector, and multilateral, regional and United Nations agencies. The initiative will:
· contribute to an increase in the number and effectiveness of women in decision making roles at national and local levels across the Pacific
· increase economic opportunities for women through improved access to financial services and markets
· improve safety for women through better services, violence prevention and access to justice
· support change in social attitudes and behaviours on gender equality
· strengthen civil society advocacy for gender equality
· ensure women, girls, men and boys receive maximum access to and benefit from Australian Government investments in health and education
· produce timely, relevant and quality gender knowledge to inform policy engagement and programming choices across the initiative’s key result areas.
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