A first of its kind initiative bringing together over 25 women working on climate change issues at the national, regional and global level, took place in Samoa last week.
The Women in Climate Change Roundtable and Network, supported by Conservation International Field Women’s Leadership Fund, is an innovative approach to gender and climate change work from a Pacific perspective.
Oceans and Climate Change Manager for C.I. Pacific, Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, who initiated the course of action, said that Samoa is a unique case when it comes to gender and climate change.
“At the global level, Samoa’s climate change work is certainly viewed as gender sensitive and inclusive,” she said.
“Certainly in my experience working on these issues, I have noticed that the majority of practitioners I come across are women, and this platform merely brings together these experts to share ideas and collaborate where possible.”
The Roundtable brought together women working on environmental issues from the private sector, N.G.O.s, regional and global organizations.
“The aim of the Network is to be a knowledge sharing platform among women working in the climate change sector.
“Women represented a diverse range of organization including the World Bank, S.P.R.E.P., F.A.O., U.N.D.P., C.A.R.I.T.A.S, Samoa Conservation Society, National University of Samoa, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Bank South Pacific and others.
“The Network comes two months after the Gender Action Plan for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was launched at the Conference of the Parties 23 in Bonn, Germany.”
At the opening of the Roundtable, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa said women are very much present in addressing climate change and the Network can bring together that cross section of gender into policy and actions.
She noted the need to continue the conversations on gender and climate change at all levels reflecting on the value of national decisions reflected and aligned to the work and actions by Non-Government Organizations and other non-state actors.
Among the speakers was Executive Director of A.D.R.A. Samoa, Su’a Julia Wallwork, who highlighted the continuous contribution of women to climate change adaptation action at the community level.
“In our work, we have come to recognize that it is the women who are mostly driving the action in their families, village and communities on conservation and adaptation measures.
“They have a particular drive and desire to learn and to apply their actions within their homes, and this applies to the climate change projects we have implemented,” said Su’a.
Aniva Clarke, a youth environmentalist encouraged the use of schools and young people in advancing the discussions on climate change.
“As children we can work together with other children to come up with ways to deal with climate change,” she said.
Another among the roundtable discussion was Executive Director of Conservation International, Sue Taei Miller.
She said C.I. prioritises climate change in the Pacific and offered C.I.s continuous collaborative actions with the Government of Samoa.
“The Pacific remains one of the most vulnerable places to climate change, and we have prioritized this issue in our work in Samoa and the Pacific,” she said.