Women leading ocean action

The action of women is a key part of reaching Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Under Water. At the United Nations Ocean Conference from 5 – 9 June in New York this year, an event on day one will showcase women's actions and strategies for including women in ocean management.

The UN Ocean Conference is co-hosted by the Governments of Fiji and Sweden. Fiji will also be featured in the special event titled "Healers of our ocean: Asia-Pacific women leading ocean action to achieve SDG14".

"Our goal for the event is to highlight the need for engagement of Asia-Pacific women in marine sciences and ocean management, and increased inclusion of women in marine management planning," said Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, Head of UN Environment's Pacific Sub-Regional Office.

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Samantha Kwan conducts a mangrove survey. Photo: Maria Satoa/MNRE Samoa

"At the community level, women have the most potential to be instigators of change, being the main food providers for their families and thus de-facto managers of their community's ocean resources."

At the academic level, statistics show in the last five years over 50 per cent of the graduates, both Bachelors and Masters Degrees, from the University of the South Pacific's Marine Science Programmes, are women.

Despite the growing number of women enrolling in marine science university programmes, women accounted for only 18% of fishery science and management staff in Pacific islands, according to a 2011 study. In contrast, women accounted for more than 60% of administrative and clerical staff in government fisheries divisions.

Women use and hold important knowledge of many marine resources and spaces, but including women's voices in governance decisions requires key strategies acknowledging the social and cultural traditions in the Pacific.

"Sharing what women are already doing to conserve, study and sustainably use the ocean will inspire, spark creativity and self-confidence in young women and our societies as a whole," said Ms. Easter Galuvao, Director of the Environmental Monitoring and Governance Division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

"SPREP is boosting gender equality in all our work and recognises our Pacific women, who value and depend on our ocean."

SPREP is one of 18 partners on the "Healers of our ocean: Asia-Pacific women leading ocean action to achieve SDG14" event, which will take place on 5 June in New York, from 3 – 4.30pm in Conference Room 12.

The event partners include the Government of the Netherlands and Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Locally Managed Marine Areas Network, National University of Samoa – Faculty of Science, Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Okeanos Foundation, the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Island Development Forum, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency - Oceanic Fisheries Management Project, Samoa Voyaging Society – Aiga Folau o Samoa, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, The Nature Conservancy, UN Environment Programme, UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Wildlife Conservation Society, Women in Fisheries Network – Fiji and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The event "Healers of our ocean: Asia-Pacific women leading ocean action to achieve SDG14" will take place on 5 June in New York, USA, at the UN Ocean Conference.

Join our conversation: follow #SaveOurOcean and #MoanaVoices

To access the Pacific Voyage to the UN Ocean Conference site, please visit here

For more information please contact Tiffany Straza, UN Environment at tstraza@gmail.com, Nanette Woonton, SPREP at nanettew@sprep.org or Alfred Ralifo, WWF at aralifo@wwfpacific.org.




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