FAQs – Design of a new regional gender equality program for the Pacific

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Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has initiated the co-design of a new regional gender equality program, building on Pacific Women with an emphasis on women in the Pacific driving the new program.

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) are being distributed on behalf of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


  • Why is the timeframe for Pacific Women Lead 5 years compared to Pacific Women’s 10 years?
    • Pacific Women Lead has an initial timeframe of 5 years with the potential for an extension to 8 years, so there is potential for both programs to be a similar length.
  • What are the indicative time frames for the transition to the new Program?
    • It is anticipated that Pacific Women Lead will be launched in early second quarter 2021, following which a transition process to the new program will take place over the course of 2021.
    • It has already been announced by the Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs & Minister for Women, Senator the Honourable Marise Payne, who said: ‘Australia is increasing our support for regional gender equality through the new Pacific Women Lead program, of $170 million over 5 years.’ The announcement is detailed on the DFAT media release.


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  • What does ‘High Level Framework Design’ mean?
    • The high-level framework design that the design team has been tasked to prepare as a first step will be a strategic document that sets out the direction, goal, objectives, outcomes and operating model for the new program that will be flexible and adaptable over time. It will not be a detailed design with activities and outputs specified in detail.
  • Are you only designing a regional framework or bilateral programs as well?
    • The new design will have a focus on regional investments as well as provide a framework for country-level investments that support gender equality.
  • Will you be linking with the review of the Pacific Leaders’ Gender Equality Declaration?
    • The design team’s consultations will include discussions about the Declaration and its review, and will seek to position the new program to support a new Declaration.
  • Will the advocacy foci from Charter of Feminist Principles for Pacific Feminists arising from the Pacific be considered in the Design?
    • The design team values the Charter of Feminist Principles as an important input to the design, and thanks the participants in the inaugural Pacific Feminist Forum who developed the Charter in 2016.
  • How does the design link with the Regional Blue Pacific Strategy 2050?
    • The design team will be discussing this strategy as part of the consultations.
  • Are there parts of the design that are already ‘set’?
    • The design team will prepare the high level framework design following consultations and analysis.  The team has been asked to consider women’s leadership, women’s health, women’s safety and women’s economic security and to propose how best they can be addressed in the new design.
  • Where have women’s health, women’s safety and women’s economic security come from?
    • These three areas are aligned with DFAT’s strategy for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Partnerships for Recovery.
  • Why is health included when there are already bilateral and regional health programs?
    • Health is being considered given the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights for Pacific Women and Girls.
  • We still have low numbers of women in Parliament and on boards so where does the issue of women in decision making and leadership fit in?
    • Women’s leadership – from the national to the village level – is a key issue on which the design team is seeking views in the consultations. The design team is also learning from the Balance of Power program and its important work in this area.
  • In terms of the Violence Against Women space, has a thorough audit of GBV programmes, national and regionally been conducted in the PIC?
  • How will resilience to climate change and disasters will be considered in the Design?
    • The design team will consider this crucial issue and take account of investments facilitated by DFAT’s Gender Equality Branch in Disaster Risk Reduction and resilience to climate change.


  • What is meant by ‘Pacific led’ and what does this looks like in practice?
    • The design team is looking to propose governance and management arrangements where Pacific voices are at the forefront and where support is provided through Pacific regional and national architecture and institutions.
  • Will funding modalities be friendly to frontline NGOs and CSOs?
    • Yes.
  • How will existing partnerships be affected by this new Design?
    • DFAT will have discussions with current partners during the transition period in 2021.


  • Are there other opportunities to share feedback, including opportunities for stakeholders who are unable to join a videoconference?
    • Stakeholder consultations for the Design process have been completed.  There will be further opportunities for consultation on the transition to Pacific Women Lead in 2021.
  • Are there direct invitations to Pacific NGOs to participate in this design?
    • The Design Team has appreciated the participation and input from Pacific NGOs during the consultation process so far.
  • Will Pacific governments be engaged separately from Pacific women leaders in civic spaces?
    • Yes.
  • Will there be consultation on the draft before it is released?
    • The Design Team held a follow-up session for stakeholders in January 2021 which provided an opportunity for feedback on the proposed directions for the new program.


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