A first of its kind initiative was kick started in Samoa on Friday 26th January 2018, bringing together over 25 women working on climate change issues at the national, regional and global level.
The Women in Climate Change Roundtable and Network, supported by Conservation International Womens Leadership Fund is an innovative approach to gender and climate change approach.
“Women are very much present in our work on climate change and this Network can bring together that cross section of gender into policy and actions,” said Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment at the opening of the Roundtable.
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.
Su’a Julia Wallwork, the Executive Director of ADRA Samoa 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.”
Aniva Clarke, a youth environmentalist in her speech 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.
Executive Director of Conservation International, Sue Taei Miller said CI prioritizes climate change in the Pacific and offered CIs 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.
Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, the Oceans and Climate Change Manager for CI Pacific who initiated the idea said that Samoa is a unique case when it comes to gender and climate change.
“At the global level, Samoas climate change work is certainly viewed as gender sensitive and inclusive, 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, NGOs, 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, SPREP, FAO, UNDP, CARITAS, 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.