The Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) Women of the Wave (WOW) network, convened a high-level Talanoa session on the sidelines of the first day of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL) meeting in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
Recognizing the important role of women and girls’ in the implementation of the 2050 Strategy, the session was themed “Amplifying Pacific women’s voice and agency in implementing the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent”. With Suzanne Puanani Vares-Lum (President, East-West Center President) and Ambassador Christine Clarke (Ambassador for Women and Girls, Australia) as the key speakers, the session facilitated discussions in the following key areas:
It was moderated by Dr. Tammy Tabe (Oceania Research Fellow, East-West Center) and included remarks from Julie Bukikun (Programme Coordinator, Women in Leadership Programme, SPC) and Leoshina Kariha (Former Miss Pacific Islands).
In his opening address, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Secretary General, Henry Puna, acknowledged Dr. Mary Hattori (Interim Director, Pacific Islands Development Programme) and Dr. Manumatavai Tupou Roosen (Director General, Forum Fisheries Agency) as female CROP heads that are an inspiration to other women, to pursue leadership roles in CROP and beyond. Mr. Puna also noted the important role that men have to play in advancing gender equality in leadership roles, providing spaces and platforms for Pacific women to amplify their voices.
Acknowledging SPTO’s participation in the CROP WOW network and support of the Talanoa session, SPTO CEO Christopher Cocker emphasized the need to support initiatives championing women in the Pacific.
“Women are key contributors to our Pacific tourism industry. Beyond that, women are at the center of Pacific societies and certainly play many important roles within our CROP family. Networks such as CROP WOW can help ensure better pathways for professional growth for women across CROP agencies and this is something that we must all support. SPTO is glad to be represented at the CROP WOW Talanoa today and we will certainly support other such initiatives”.
“SPTO is fortunate to have strong female leadership at the Board level, with ten of our twenty five Board Directors being women. In this way, the unique and important perspectives of women are represented and considered at the leadership level of our organisation. However, as with other agencies, we know that we can do better so we are working with key development partners to develop and pursue gender focussed activities for the benefit of the organisation and our membership”, said Mr Cocker.