Coverage: UN Women Deputy Executive Director in Solomon Islands
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2017
UN Women Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme, Yannick Glemarec, is meeting high-level government officials, partners, donors, and women leaders from market vendor associations and civil society during his official visit to Solomon Islands, from 12 – 14 October 2017. Accompanying Mr. Glemarec is the UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office Representative, Aleta Miller.
High on the agenda are projects promoting women’s economic empowerment, women’s inclusion in peace building and initiatives strengthening the coordination of efforts to end violence against women and girls.
Mr. Glemarec concluded his visit observing the impacts of climate change at Langalanga lagoon, an area famous for its artificial islands built of stones and dead corals.
“Women’s dependence on and unequal access to land, water, and other resources and productive assets means they are disproportionately affected by climate change. However, women are extremely powerful agents of change to take forward action on climate change and to leverage co-benefits for gender equality in climate action. Part of UN Women’s work is to change the rhetoric of viewing women as vulnerable. We must see women for who they are—core community members, strong leaders, advocates and agents of change who must have a place at the table.”
On day two, Mr. Glemarec met partners working to end violence against women and girls, including representatives from the Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs; Ministry of Health; Public Solicitors Office; Royal Solomon Islands Police Force; other service providers and civil society organisations. Representatives shared the importance of a survivor-centred and coordinated approach. “Violence against women used to be a private issue in Solomon Islands, but now it is everyone’s issue and it is the government’s priority,” said Pauline Soaki, Director of the Women’s Development Division at the Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Youths, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA). “It has given us confidence and the energy to work to reduce and eliminate violence, especially with our strong partnership with UN Women through funding and technical support,” Ms. Soaki continued.
Mr. Glemarec commended partners for their strong commitment to ensuring coordination, especially through the SAFENET Referral Network and Essential Services Package launched in September this year. “The SAFENET agreement is the culmination of almost three years of extensive work in Solomon Islands by the UN-Solomon Islands Government Joint Programme to End Violence against Women and Girls, led by UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office,” said Mr. Glemarec. Full story: http://ow.ly/xx1p30fMZJt (SAFENET Referral Network); http://ow.ly/U44v30fMZOc (Essential Services Package).
Next, Mr. Glemarec met Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. They discussed their shared commitment to achieving gender equality, focusing particularly on women’s leadership and economic empowerment.
The Deputy Executive Director also travelled to Guadalcanal Provincial Headquarters, where he had robust discussions with Guadalcanal women leaders who are working to ensure women’s voices are heard and included in peacebuilding efforts. They stressed the importance of including women as key decision-makers. “We need to involve women at the decision-making levels in peacebuilding,” said Bernadette Laure of Kakabona Village, North West Guadalcanal.
During the meeting, Mr. Glemarec applauded the government of Solomon Islands as the first in the Pacific to adopt a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. He added that UN Women was proud to support the Guadalcanal Provincial Government in their efforts to change the Guadalcanal Gender Equality and Equal Participation Policy to incorporate women, peace and security. UN Women is currently working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to develop Phase Two of its joint peacebuilding project in Solomon Islands, committed to strengthening women’s voices in peacebuilding processes.
The day ended with a trip to Auki Market— Solomon Islands’ largest market in Malaita Province and a key site for UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) project.
“With this project, I see myself as a business woman – I no longer look down on myself – I am happy,” said Janet Ramo President of the Auki Market Vendors Association (MVA). “Before, we struggled with saving – this was not part of our life and culture – but after the Markets for Change financial literacy training, I saw the benefits of saving and investing for my cooperative business,” said continued. Full story: Markets for Change addresses barriers to women’s economic empowerment in Solomon Islands
Day one, 12 October
The visit began with Mr. Glemarec meeting the Minister for Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Freda Tuki Soriacomua, reaffirming their joint commitment to advancing gender equality in Solomon Islands.
Mr. Glemarec then met Australia's Acting High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Michael Hassett. They discussed priorities in Solomon Islands, including strengthening services to end violence against women and girls, women’s leadership, and initiatives promoting women’s economic empowerment.
In the evening, Mr. Glemarec was welcomed at a reception at the Australian High Commission, where UN Women and Australia announced their increased support and additional funding worth AUD 1 million for women’s economic empowerment, expanding the Markets for Change (M4C) project to Gizo, Western Province. The ongoing programme ensures that marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
More news on Markets for Change:Markets for Change addresses barriers to women’s economic empowerment in Solomon Islands
In the words of Shobhna Verma: “Once I came into the market, there was no turning back”
UN Women Markets for Change project expands to Gizo Western Province
Markets set to improve with Pacific women in the lead