Vice President J. Uduch Sengebau Senior attended the virtual inaugural Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders Meeting on Thursday, 9 June 2022, from 7:00am-2:00pm. The inaugural meeting was attended by representatives at the Ambassadorial, Ministerial and Head of State levels, as well as colleagues from the CROP agencies. The meeting will be an annual meeting to be held ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting with the aim of ensuring a focus on the critical role of gender on the issues in the Pacific region.
Major areas of discussion at the inaugural meeting included: 1) the role of women and girls, in all their diversity, in the future of our Blue Pacific Continent; 2) the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration; and 3) strengthening collective action and positioning on key gender equality issues. This inaugural meeting provided for a contextual setting of focus for the meeting on the centrality of gender equality to development across the region within the context of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and COVID-19 recovery, through a coherent collective Pacific Islands Forum voice.
In her address to the inaugural meeting, Vice President Senior stressed the significance of the different cultures of our Pacific island nations and how those cultures bind us and bring us together at the political table. Her message, with reference to the 2012 Forum Leaders equality declaration, emphasized the importance of gender equality in the region in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for the collaboration of Pacific Women Leaders alongside the men leaders as a means to overcome the pandemic as a region, and stimulate regional recovery and a return to stability.
In her closing remarks, Vice President Senior asked for all Pacific Women Leaders “to use this opportunity and this occasion to network and build strong partnerships and solidarity as we continue to champion our mutual interests, shared principles and values as a region for the good of our people, our nations and the world.”