Climate change and natural disasters represent a particular and growing threat to peace and security in the Pacific region. Chronic cyclones and droughts, growing food insecurity, competition for resources and climate change induced population displacement are putting additional pressure on already economically weak communities in addition to fuelling conflict.
While there has been some progress in recent years in terms of the situation of women and girls in the Pacific, the region retains some of the worst indicators in the world in terms of overall gender equality. Violence against women is at pandemic levels with over three quarters of all women experiencing physical and sexual violence.
Women and girls in the Pacific are also disproportionally affected by climate change and natural disasters — an increasing and recurring reality for the region. They are systematically kept away from preparedness and response processes, reflected in the low level of women’s representation in decision making.
With German support, the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund is promoting synergies between the Pacific region’s actors, including multilateral and bilateral entities, national ministries of women, and local civil society organisations.
While women’s organisations have been the most successful in the region in terms of networking, lobbying efforts and service delivery, they remain small, have limited capacity and suffer from a lack of core funding to sustain actions.
In the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa, the WPHF focuses on:
- Increasing participation of women in emergency response planning at the community level while institutionalising gender analysis into Samoa Red Cross planning that will ensure long-term, sustainable capacity.
- Increasing protection for women and girls and supporting civil society organisations’ capacities to strengthen gender-sensitive humanitarian aid.
The efforts of the partner organisations in the Pacific region have led to a higher number of women participating in different decision-making processes in disaster management and humanitarian aid in the region. In order to better integrate gender-specific protection needs and as a result of grantees’ advocacy and training sessions, village protection committees were created to monitor and address women and girls’ specific needs.
Germany is one of the largest funders of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, contributing a total of € 4 million since 2019. As a member of the Funding Board, Germany, along with other Member States, UN agencies and civil society organisations, selects the projects to be funded.