Women representatives and gender focal points from across the Pacific were granted the opportunity to gain more understanding of the key climate change issues for the Pacific during the first day of the 66th Session Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) preparatory workshop. 

 The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is scheduled to host its 66th session from 14 – 25 March 2022, which will focus on the priority theme of achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. 

 According to CSW, women are disproportionately impacted by climate change and natural disasters, and it is critical that gender perspectives are integrated into all aspects of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policy and programming. 

 The importance of gender focal points being well prepared going into the 66th session of the CSW to ensure there is a united Pacific voice in addressing gender-response climate change policies and action across all intergovernmental organisations was the driving force behind the Climate Change 101 preparatory workshop. 

 Technical experts from various Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) agencies that deal with climate change were invited to speak to the participants to provide them with background information and knowledge on the topic. 

 Representatives from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and the University of the South Pacific (USP) covered various climate change-related issues such as Mitigation, Adaptation, the relevant regional and international climate change and disaster risk reduction frameworks, as well as a breakdown of the science behind climate change and projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

 Ms Filomena Nelson, Climate Change Adaptation Adviser for SPREP, was one of the technical experts who shared her wealth of knowledge with the participants on the topics of adaptation and Loss and Damage – two issues which are a high priority for Pacific island countries at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties – as well as gender and climate change

 “This was a great opportunity for us to assist in the preparations of our Pacific islands gender champions for the 66th Session of the GSW, by equipping them with a strong foundational understanding of climate change issues, particularly the priority areas that our Pacific delegation pushed at COP26 in Glasgow,” Ms Nelson said. 

 “With this knowledge and understanding they have gained from our session today, they will be able to identify the linkages between gender and climate change, which will result in a more united and coherent Pacific voice on  climate change issues pertinent to our region including more gender-responsive and inclusive climate change space.”

 The workshop was organised and co-facilitated by PIFS and SPREP, which is the leading agency for the One CROP+, as well as the Gender Equality Working Group. It was conducted virtually and attracted gender focal points who will be leading the negotiations at CSW66 and representatives from various Pacific Missions in New York. 

 For more information, please contact Ms Filomena Nelson at [email protected].