HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 580: 07 September 2011

Pacific lacks baseline data on gender impacts of climate change

The lack of baseline data on the gender impacts of climate change and greater need for donor coordination in the region are two of the many gap issues identified in a recent planning workshop on gender and climate change held in Bangkok late last month.
The meeting was attended by Cook Islander Ulamila Kurai Wragg, who was the only non-government organization representative from the Pacific to attend the ‘Global Gender Climate Alliance’ Asia-Pacific Planning workshop. It was coordinated by UNDP New York and co-facilitated by Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s gender specialist Brigitte Leduc .
Wragg said her contribution to the workshop was guided by the Cook Islands National Gender and Women’s Empowerment Policy and Strategic Plan of Action 2011-2016, that was endorsed by the current Henry Puna-government in June.
“This policy is very crucial to us working on gender issues in whatever aspect this maybe, because it is a guide and a work plan for the development of this country. So to me it is important that this is highlighted in whatever forum I attend, and honestly speaking, it has sort of become a guide for us. And we also have other international conventions that we are guided by. But by the end of the day I try and compliment our country’s gender policy 5-year plan.”
“Climate change and disaster risk reduction is one of the five outputs in our gender policy and this means a better understanding of the gender dimensions of the environmental, climate change impacts and disaster risk reduction.
“In Bangkok, we sat as a Pacific bloc and discussed the gaps or where we need more work on gender and climate change. The lack of baseline data, lack of information on what gender means within the context of climate change, the need to train and build the capacities of our own people in-country to know what and how one works on gender and climate change, the need to coordinate sharing of information and experiences on this work in the Pacific were some issues we identified.”
Wragg, who is coordinator of Cooks Islands registered Pacific Gender Climate Coalition Incorporated, says the Bangkok workshop noted the lack of baseline data, which is the same for the Cook Islands, which is the factual information needed to build our local knowledge on gender within the context of climate change.
“A lot of time gender is always misunderstood as a women’s issue only. This is not true, gender is about both men and women and identifying why is it that one is lacking in one area. Within the context of climate change, men and women respond differently to climate change and this what we need to capture.
“Yet, when carrying out data collation on any adaptation or mitigation project in the country we do not have nor bother to collate sex disaggregated data in the Cook Islands. This is very important because it is only when we have these data, we can properly identify specific areas of impacts and design around that.
“We discussed the issue of case studies in ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ areas of impact. In small island countries like ours climate change directly impacts food security, water, agriculture, housing, employment, land ownership and we need to bring these out because in some countries some of these issues are referred to as ‘indirect’ impacts.”
Wragg said that also in Bangkok the Pacific bloc identified the lack of coordination amongst climate change project donors into the countries. She said most donor organizations have very strong gender policies but this becomes oblivious when their projects are implemented.
“There are many reasons for this and one is the lack of financial resources, technical support and manpower in understanding how gender is mainstreamed into projects and identifying entry points. And we also agreed as a region that we lack Pacific-specific gender indicators to monitor climate change initiatives in our region.”
Other Pacific delegates to the meeting from the Pacific region included Karen Bernard - UNDP Pacific in Fiji; Nixon Kua – SPREP in Samoa, Yvette Kersklake – UNDP Samoa, Amelia Siamomua – UNDP Papua New Guinea, Varigini Badira – CEO PNG’s Climate Change Office , and Katarina Atalifo-Malo of GEF’s Small Grants Programme in Fiji and Dr Veikila Vuki from Guam
- Pacific Gender Climate Coalition

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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