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New Pacific Partnership addresses gender equality and violence against women

Thursday 8 March 2018 (Pacific region) – This International Women’s Day, a new EUR18.2 million
regional programme to improve gender equality and address violence against women and girls is being announced.
The new Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership) brings
together governments, civil society organisations, communities and other partners to promote gender
equality, prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG), and increase access to quality response
services for survivors.
The programme is funded primarily by the European Union (EUR12.7m) with targeted support from the
Australian Government (EUR4.9m) and UN Women (EUR0.6m). It will be jointly implemented by the
Pacific Community (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
(Forum Secretariat) and UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO).
His Excellency Ambassador Julian Wilson, Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation for the Pacific
said: “The European Union is strongly committed to gender equality, the empowerment of women of all
ages and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls around the world.”
“We are proud to be funding this new and important partnership programme through the 11th European
Development Fund in the Pacific, to address the causes of gender inequality and violence against
women,” said Ambassador Wilson.
“It starts today on International Women’s Day and aims to deliver concrete results over the next years,
turning each day into a women’s day,” he said.
Australia's High Commissioner, John Feakes, said Australia is very pleased to support the new Pacific
Partnership through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program.
“Recent surveys indicate that over 60 per cent of women in the Western Pacific Region have experienced
gender-based violence,” Mr Feakes said.
“Women and girls who experience violence deserve accessible and high quality essential services –
including health, police, justice and social services – to help them recover. Through the Pacific
Partnership we will also work with individuals and communities to consider the influence of social norms,
attitudes and behaviours in preventing violence against women and girls,” he said.
The Pacific Partnership aims to transform the social norms that allow violence against women and girls to
continue; to ensure survivors have access to quality response services; and to support national and
regional institutions to meet their commitments to gender equality and the prevention of violence
against women and girls.
Speaking about the new programme, Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum,
said “full inclusivity, equity and equality is a core value of the Forum and lies at the heart of its vision for a
peaceful and prosperous Pacific.”
“As individuals we have a responsibility to uphold this and so do our governments and institutions. Civil
society also has an important role to play in ensuring we are all accountable in our efforts to achieve
this,” Dame Meg said.
“Therefore, a key outcome of this programme will be empowering national and regional civil society
organisations (CSOs) to advocate, monitor and report on the commitments of governments and regional
institutions to enhance gender equality and prevent violence against women and girls.”
The Pacific Community’s Director General, Dr. Colin Tukuitonga, highlighted the importance of the
program’s education goals.
“Through this programme the Pacific Community will be working closely with our partners to integrate
human rights, gender equality and the social norms of violence-free homes and societies into national
school curricula and informal education,” said Dr Colin Tukuitonga.
“The programme will make a positive impact on current and future generations of Pacific leaders.”
UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO) Representative, Aleta Miller, said this programme has been
developed with the goal to bring all parts of Pacific society together to successfully reduce levels of
violence against women and girls across the Pacific, which is twice the global average.
“UN Women will focus on preventing violence against women and girls before it happens through the
promotion of gender equitable social norms at the individual and community level and by engaging key
pillars of Pacific society such as faith and sport,” said Ms Miller.
“We will also work with partners to ensure that survivors of violence have access to quality response
services,” she said.
The five-year programme, from January 2018 to December 2022, targets Pacific Island countries and
territories (PICTs) initially targeting Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands,
Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Central to the programme, is the partners’ recognition of the importance of gender equality for achieving
sustainable development, that directly contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs), in particularly SDG 5 to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, of the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
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