The integration of gender and human rights is one of the six pillars that guide’s the work of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). It enhances SPREP’s ability for effective delivery of services to our Members, as identified in its 2017 – 2026 Strategic Plan.
To strengthen SPREP’s capacity to do this for our Members, a one day workshop was held on Human Rights and Gender Equity, Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) issues for all SPREP staff with funding from the Kiwa Initiative.
Held at the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC), the workshop took a two-pronged approach by firstly exploring the linkages between Human Rights and the environment. This was followed by an interactive discussion among participants on addressing GEDSI in SPREP projects and the effectiveness of the current processes in place to do this.
As the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) for Samoa, the Office of the Ombudsman was invited to present on Human Rights in relation to climate change and the right to a healthy environment.
The Office of the Ombudsman, Director for the Human Rights Unit, Ms Loukinikini Vili shared on their work in providing advice and assisting the State in meeting their international human rights obligations. She further elaborated on the relationships between human rights, the environment and climate change and the responding agreements, reflecting on the outcomes from the Climate Change Human Rights Dialogue organised by the Government of Samoa Office of the Ombudsman and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment at the PCCC the previous week (12-14 April 2023).
“It is important to understand these linkages as the lack of awareness leads to a lack of appreciation. We need to contextualise international agreements for local settings and recognise that human rights responsibilities are not just a matter for State. They belong to everyone – individuals, NGO’s, private sector, courts and administration, NHRI’s and development institutions,” presented Ms Vili.
SPREP has developed policies and internal coordination mechanisms to support the mainstreaming of gender equality and social inclusion. SPREP also actively engages with international and regional partners to support the integration of these issues across its services.
SPREP Deputy Director General, Ms Easter Chu Shing highlighted the presence of internal mechanisms in place to effectively address and integrate Human Rights, gender and social inclusion issues into the work of SPREP.
She says, “as per our environmental and social standards, Human Rights is a vital principle when developing and designing projects. There including specific GEDSI requirements of donors and partner institutions which are considered and integrated into project design and implementation”.
The training program was developed based on two complementary modules already developed by SPREP. Firstly, the Kiwa Initiative “Human Rights in Nature-based Solutions” module, which provides an introduction to human rights and how to contribute to their protection and enhancement through environment work. And the CBCRP-PCCC “Gender and Climate Change” training module, which provides further guidance on how to address Gender and Social Inclusion in climate change projects.
Outcomes from the workshop will be used to finalise these training modules, before they are delivered to support Kiwa beneficiaries in developing and implementing gender responsive, socially inclusive and rights-based Nature-based Solutions for climate change adaptation as part of SPREP Technical Assistance to the Kiwa Initiative and capacity development programme. The training modules will also be uploaded to the Pacific Climate Change Centre E-learning platform as self-paced courses for wider dissemination and enhanced capacity in the Pacific on Human Rights and GEDSI issues.
The Kiwa Initiative – Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for Climate Resilience aims at strengthening the climate change resilience of Pacific Islands ecosystems, communities and economies through Nature-based Solutions (NbS), by protecting, sustainably managing and restoring biodiversity. It is based on an easier access to funding for climate change adaptation and NbS for local, national authorities, civil society and regional organisations of Pacific Island Countries and Territories including the three French overseas territories. The Initiative is funded by the European Union,
Agence Française de Développement, Global Affairs Canada, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). The Kiwa Initiative has established partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the regional office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
More information on www.kiwainitiative.org;
@InitiativeKiwa @KiwaInitiative Kiwa Initiative
For more information, please contact Mathilde Kraft, Kiwa Initiative Project Development Coordinator at [email protected] .