FUNAFUTI, 02 FEBRUARY 2017 (RNZI) —- A Tuvalu Government official says the training of Pacific women in climate change negotiation skills is vital.
Moira Simmons-Avafoa, from Tuvalu’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says women and children are often the hardest hit by the impacts of climate change, but have less input into decisions to combat it.
immons-Avafoa is one of 22 women in a workshop in Suva, organised by the Women’s Environment and Development Programme, or WEDO.
The workshop, called the Pacific Womens Climate Change Negotiating Conference has been facilitated by the Pacific Islands Forum and the Australian Government.
Simmons-Avafoa said it was very important for Pacific women because it helps encourage them and builds their capacity.
Women and children were the most vulnerable to climate change, she said.
“So giving people like women, especially young women, the opportunity to be part of this training is important, so that when we go back to our countries we take back with us, the tools, the skills, the knowledge, the information that we have learnt here and hopefully, if we are given the chance to go to some of these big meetings we can practise the tools that we have learnt.”
WEDO’s Bridget Burns said women were often shut out of the discussions.
She said the training aims to establish a body of Pacific women able to really engage in climate change negotiations in the international arena.
“We wanted to make sure that for such a critical negotiation, such a critical issue, that there was capacity, support and a focus on building women’s leadership so that their voices could be heard in the negotiations,” she said.
Cook Islands government official Melina Tuiravakai, from the Office of the Prime Minister, is also one of 22 women taking part in the workshop.
Tuiravakai said Pacific women must have a voice to press for urgent action on climate change.
She said the training was valuable.
“It helps them with developing their skills and diplomacy. This training is also great for giving us opportunities to learn to do drafting texts and, you know, any opportunity that you can upskill yourself we should really take advantage of it,” she said.
The Pacific Womens Climate Change Negotiating Conference has been facilitated by the Pacific Islands Forum and the Australian Government…..PACNEWS [/restrict]