14 people from different horizons discussed the proposed Pacific Platform for Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights.
20 years ago, the Pacific region adopted the first regional charter for the advancement of women and gender equality. The Platform was an agreement made among the 22 Pacific islands countries and territories on areas to prioritize including improvement in health, education, participation in decision making, the elimination of violence against women, the protection of the environment, and economic empowerment. The platform was reviewed once in 2004 and is being reviewed now as recommended at the last regional Ministers’ of Women meeting held in Rarotonga in 2013.
The review process and the consultation on the new proposed Pacific Platform on Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights is led by the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). Cook Islands is the first country in the region to be consulted on the proposed Platform which will be submitted for endorsement at the regional level at the next triennial conference of Pacific Women in 2017. The meeting gathered 14 women from government and civil society organizations.
“There have been significant progress at regional level and in the Cook Islands, in terms of education, access to healthcare services and employment but we still have a long way to go to address some of the most pervasive issues women still face today dealing with violence in their home, unequal participation in decision making in local and national governments, having less incomes than men, and their sexual and reproductive rights not always being recognized. In addition, climate change impacts and NCDs are threatening the gain we made” stated Ruth Pokura, Director of the Gender and Development Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“We need to put our words into actions if we want to progress gender equality, hoping that we will not need to discuss those issues again in 20 years”, said the Speaker of the House, Nikki Rattle. “To do so, we need to work together, government, civil society and faith-based organisations youth as
future leaders and we need our government to increase budget and invest sustainably to address gender inequality issues.”
The consultation was facilitated by Brigitte Leduc for the Pacific Community (SPC). The updated Pacific Platform for Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights is a regional instrument and proposes measures to accelerate implementations of commitments made at national, regional and international levels to achieve gender equality. Those measures include building partnerships between government, civil society, private sectors and faith-based organisations; increasing investments to address gender inequality issues; addressing concerns of women and men across all legislation and governments’ programmes and services; putting in place mechanism to monitor progress and making governments accountable for implementing their commitments to gender equality and women’s human rights.
For more information, please contact Ruth Pokura, Ministry of Internal Affairs, on email: [email protected]