UNDP Fiji and the Pacific Resident Representative a.i., Vineet Bhatia, delivers the statement at the CAPP Meeting at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji

Director Women, Government of Fiji,

National Gender Focal Points from the Pacific,

CSO Representatives and Distinguished delegates:

I am pleased to be here today to share some thoughts on the implementation of the Gender Action Plan.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment is a prerequisite to effective conservation, climate action and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. International agreements on biodiversity, Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement present new opportunities for engaging women and accelerating equitable action. From Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) processes to biodiversity strategies and climate change gender action plans (GAP), governments, businesses and civil society are now embracing gender-responsive solutions to address the world’s most pressing development challenges.

Member States of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP23 in 2017, adopted a new roadmap to incorporate gender equality and women’s empowerment in climate change discourse and actions.

The creation of a “Gender Action Plan” was agreed upon by the Parties to bolster the role of women in climate action. Women commonly face higher risks in responding to natural hazards and greater burden from the impacts of climate change. Although they have intimate local knowledge and are managers of common natural resources, they are often left out of the picture when decisions on climate action are made.

The aim of the Gender Action Plan is to ensure that women can influence climate change decisions, and that women and men are represented equally in all aspects of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as a way to increase its effectiveness.

UNDP’s Pacific Multi-Country Office, which covers 10 Pacific Island Countries, aims to ensure that Pacific women become full and equal partners in, and leaders and beneficiaries of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts and overall sustainable development. Towards this end, UNDP works with governments, regional development partners and NGOs to ensure that the needs and priorities of women are considered in all stages of climate policy development and project or programme implementation.

The centrality of gender and protection helps us take a more human development perspective for climate change adaptation.

To support Priority Area A (1) of the Gender Action Plan, UNDP and the Canadian Government through the Support for Fiji COP23 Presidency Project, organized a Gender Breakfast during the 48th session of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies in Bonn on 04 May 2018. The breakfast also provided an opportunity for National Gender and Climate Change Focal Points (NGCCFPs) to identify any capacity building needs they may have. One of the recommendations from the Gender Breakfast was to organize more of such dialogues at regional levels.

Taking into consideration the recommendations made at the Gender Breakfast last year, we have organized this Pacific Regional Talanoa on Progressing the Gender Action Plan to enable National Gender Focal Points in the Pacific region and partners to identify and discuss opportunities in the implementation of the GAP in the Pacific region.

We have supported National Gender Focal Points from the Governments of Nauru, PNG, Solomon Islands, Samoa and Tonga to be attend today’s Talanoa.

In line with Priority Area B (1) of the Gender Action Plan, we are supporting the participation of some Pacific Government women negotiators for the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Bonn next month. Last year, we also supported participation of two female youth in the Fiji National Delegation to COP24.

This year will prove to be a crucial year for GAP. The COP25 negotiations in Chile will mark the end of the year period of GAP upon which it is up for review by the Parties.

Through this Pacific Regional Talanoa we hope to showcase the status of implementation of GAP in the Pacific region in order to inform the Pacific negotiators who will be championing our region at COP25.

As we move forward on GAP implementation, UNDP is hopeful that progress will be collectively demonstrated on GAP priorities areas including on equal participation, women’s leadership, capacity-building, and knowledge sharing. UNDP and our partners will continue to do our part to support these goals, ensure the conversation on gender equality in climate change action continues, and that momentum is maintained.

I would like to thank the Canadian Government for the support provided through the Support for Fiji COP23 Presidency Project and the Fijian Government for the partnership with UNDP in convening this important action-oriented forum.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

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