Opening statement by Mereseini Rakuita, SPC’s Principal Strategic Lead, at the 12th Pacific Islands Leader’s Conference

14 September 2022

Opening of the Women’s Talanoa Session at the 12th Pacific Islands Leader’s Conference (PICL) by Mereseini Rakuita, SPC’s Principal Strategic Lead

Like the rest of the world, our Blue Pacific Continent is facing major global challenges that are transnational in nature and trans-institutional in solution – meaning that sustainable solutions will only be possible by having meaningful and trusted partnerships in responding to these challenges.

The opportunity we have as the Pacific is unique and special. In the recent meeting of Pacific Leaders in July 2022, the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent was launched providing a long-term vision and a strategy which reinforces commitment and working together as a collective for advancing Pacific regionalism. 

Pacific Island countries and territories, CROP agencies, non-state actors, development partners and Pacific communities will play a key role in the implementation of the 2050 Strategy particularly in ensuring the integration and mainstreaming of gender and social inclusion across all actions.

For me, the importance of having women’s voices to influence this strategy is needed now more than ever.  The Pacific people that we serve will never fully realise the aspirations of our leaders in the 2050 Strategy if women’s voices and agency aren’t captured front and centre in the implementation of it.  After  all, women and girls comprise half of our Pacific population.

While we look at issues of green growth, rising food/water/energy prices, population growth, resource depletion, climate change, security, and changing disease patterns; gender equality and social inclusion are central to realising the vision of Pacific Leaders for a safe, secure, resilient, inclusive and peaceful Blue Pacific Continent.

There is a wealth of evidence on the positive impact that women’s participation in politics has on economic stability, on good governance and on maintaining sustainable and peaceful societies.

At the Pacific Community, we apply a People Centred Approach which is also a pillar for the 2050 Strategy.  This means that people are and should be at the centre of our work.

As the Principal Strategic Lead – Pacific Women and Girls, at the Pacific Community, my role is to work across the organisation and its partners and beneficiaries to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment is a key focus in the way we work and in the manner we deliver our services. 

This role is a first of its kind in the region and the hope is that it will be a catalyst for other organisations to follow to make sure that our shared commitments in the 2050 agenda, the Triennial, the Pacific Platform for Action, CEDAW and the SDGs are implemented with the necessary support and resources to drive transformational change in the lives of our Pacific people.

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Human Rights and Social Development