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Concept Note - Regional Conference on Gender-Responsive Climate Change Policy and Environm

About the Conference

Background

The Pacific Islands, including Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, stand at a precipice in the face of a escalating global crisis: climate change. As the impacts of this crisis reverberate across the world, it is the smaller, more vulnerable nations like those in the Pacific that bear the brunt of its force. Rising sea levels encroach upon coastal communities, transforming landscapes, and threatening centuries old ways of life. More frequent and severe natural disasters disrupt livelihoods and shatter the fragile infrastructures of these island nations. Meanwhile, unpredictable weather patterns challenge traditional agricultural practices and exacerbate food security concerns.

Over the last decade, the leaders of the Pacific Island Countries’ have upped the ante on climate emergency, particularly in the international fora, in terms of climate advocacy, climate justice, accessibility to climate funds for mitigation purposes and pushing to limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Fiji’s Chairmanship of the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) 23 in Bonn, Germany in 2017 is a testimony of Pacific Islands Leaders’ prowess in taking up the mettle of global leadership on climate action. Essentially, the Pacific States have been vociferous in terms of enlightening the international community on the sheer urgency of climate action. The Pacific Island Countries’ have also been instrumental in crafting policies and legislative frameworks to tackle climate change and enable environmental governance to ensure its sustainability.

However, amidst these action lies a critical dimension that demands our undivided attention: the intersection of climate change and gender dynamics. Gender is not a neutral factor in the climate equation. It is a powerful determinant of vulnerability and resilience, shaping how individuals experience and respond to the changing climate. Women, men, and gender-diverse individuals navigate the impacts of climate change differently, influenced by a complex interplay of sociocultural, economic, and environmental factors.

 

In the Pacific Islands, women are often the primary stewards of natural resources, managing household water supply, food production, and energy resources. They play a pivotal role in disaster preparedness and response, yet their contributions are frequently undervalued or overlooked in policy and decision-making processes. Moreover, women are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change due to their social and economic roles, facing heightened risks in times of crisis.

This conference is an essential step towards addressing this gap in climate policy formulation by bringing together stakeholders from across the region to deliberate on gender-responsive climate policy in these three Pacific Island Countries (PICs).

 

About the Event

The regional conference is scheduled to take place in Suva, Fiji in November, 2023 at the Grand Pacific Hotel. The event aims to congregate stakeholders, namely policy makers, researchers, academics, civil society leaders, activists and community leaders to engage in constructive dialogue and discuss collaborative efforts towards fostering gender-responsive climate policy in the Pacific Islands. Hence, the event will serve as a platform for knowledge sharing, idea generation and partnership building to address challenges pertaining to gender inclusivity and environmental governance and strategise for a future where climate policies are not only sensitive to gender dynamics but actively work towards achieving gender equality.

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