Majuro, Marshall Islands – Today marked the second day of the Micronesian Women’s Conference which is being held at the University of the South Pacific Conference Center in Majuro, the Republic the Marshall Islands (RMI). Delegates from the RMI, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, and the U.S. Territories of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, continue dialogue to collectively identify opportunities and challenges to develop strategic recommendations to increase progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women in the thematic areas of economic empowerment, eliminating violence, health, climate change and leadership.

Today’s discussion focused on the three remaining thematic areas. The first thematic area Empowerment of Women in Politics and Decision-Making has explored ways to ensure the political empowerment of women and reflected on options including constitutional previsions, such as parliamentary and executive branch quotas, that guarantee women’s participant in all branches and at all level of government; skill building and leadership training for women. The thematic expert presenting was Mr Dyfan Jones, Team Leader for Effective Governance, UNDP Pacific Office, Fiji with panel presentations from RMI, FSM and Palau.

The second thematic area Addressing Effects of Climate Change on Women has identified the collective effort required to minimize the impacts of climate change on the many roles of women, including their human rights and ways to include a gender lens in monitoring and evaluation of measures and initiatives to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The thematic expert presenting was Ms Noelene Nabulivou, Political Adviser to Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality in Fiji and Pacific Partnership on Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development with panel presentations from Kiribati, RMI and 1 Million Women based in Australia.

The final thematic area discussed was Improving Women’s Access to Health Services which focused on a range of factors including environmental, biological and socio-economic determinants. There are persistent gender differences with the prevalence of both non-communicable and communicable diseases; the opportunities to improve women’s health were explored. The thematic expert presenting was Dr. Nia Aitaoto, community-based researcher with a faculty appointment and the co-Director of the Center for Pacific Islander Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science with panel presentations from Palau, FSM and Guam.

The final presentation of the day was delivered by Ms Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago-Elisara, Director, Social Development Programme (Gender, Culture and Youth), Pacific Community, Fiji. The presentation provided an overview of the regional strategy for gender equality: Pacific Platform for Action (PPA).  An update on progress and recommendations from the 2015 review were provided. The delegations were invited to provide constructive feedback on the strategic objectives for the PPA 2017-2017 which seeks to accelerate implementation of national, regional and international gender equality commitments.

According to the Chair Honorable Amenta Matthew, Minister of Culture and Internal Affairs, Marshall Islands “Much has been accomplished, there is a lot of information from presenters and panellists. The participants have told me, and this is also true for myself, they find this as an eye opening experience. It is interesting that we all share the same problems and issues, and it is nice to get together and talk about things that are important to us – especially on gender equality, domestic violence and all the other important issues we face”.

The conference is supported by the Government of the Marshall Islands in partnership with Women United Together Marshall Islands with funding support from the European Union, the Government of Australia, and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Other development partners providing support include the Pacific Community, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Asian Development Bank, and the International Organization for Migration.

MEDIA ACCESS: Members of the media are invited to cover this event.

Venue: University of the South Pacific Long Island Campus Conference Center, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Date:  Tuesday August 8 – Thursday August 10,

Time:   8:30am-5:30pm

For more information on the conference and the program please contact the Chair of the Micronesian Women’s Conference organizing committee at [email protected] or visit our website rmi.micronesianwomensconference.spc.int

 Media contact:

Denise de Brum-Reiher, Chair, Media Subcommittee of the MWC Organizing Committee – [email protected] Angela Saunders, Vice-Chair, Media Subcommittee of the MWC Organizing Committee– [email protected]

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