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Young Women Speak: Statement on Gender, Economic and Climate Justice by Pacific Women Activists

We are local and young women activists in various countries of the Pacific, gathered in Suva, Fiji on 6-9 September 2010 for the Regional Training and Consultation on Gender, Economic and Climate Justice that was convened by the Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) and the Pacific Network on Globalization (PANG). The Pacific region is confronted by the onslaughts of market forces through processes of trade, financial and services liberalization, and the implication of environmental changes on food security, water scarcity, sea level rise and intrusion. These are causing major upheavals and chaos in our social relationships, communities and societies at large.

In this context, we need policies and programs that empower communities, families and individuals, rather then exposing us to market assault and the changes in climate that affect land, livelihoods, handicrafts, indigenous medicines, staple food, symbolic wealth and our caring social relationships that include women’s informal networks of mutual support.

While we are in solidarity with the struggle of people’s movements and nongovernmental organizations, a political response based on a feminist interlinkages perspective on gender, economic, and climate justice, is yet another way by which we can contribute to the development of an alternative paradigm of sustainable development in the Pacific.

Such a feminist approach utilizes concepts of social reproduction and women’s right over our bodies and sexualities as core principles in our political analyses and actions. By this we mean that care of individuals should not be bargained away by governments when they negotiate trade and environmental agreements like PACER PLUS, WTO, UNFCC, CBD, etc. In guaranteeing social reproduction, such as health, education, water, livelihoods, etc. the state must also protect and promote the right of women to control our bodies and our sexualities in all places -our homes, schools, communities, etc.This means putting in place a policy, legislative and program environment that:

(a) gives justice to women who are physically and sexually abused and denied their sexual & reproductive health life & rights;
(b) provides equal access, control and ownership of resources of both land and the sea;
(c) ensures women’s meaningful participation in decision making in politics and citizen’s mobilizations;
(d) supports the empowerment and voices of Pacific women to confront aspects of our culture that are hampering our development and autonomy; and
(e) ends all forms of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, class, gender identity, sexual orientation and abilities.

We will therefore adopt various strategies aimed at promoting a feminist inter-linkages analyses and activities aimed at: our organizations;
constituents and allies; and regional platforms facilitated through intergovernmental or social dialogues.

We also strongly commit to continue networking with each other as we continually strengthen and recreate a vibrant regional Pacific feminist women’s movement that engages in a politically interlinked way – locally, nationally, regionally and internationally.

Dated: 20 October 2010

This statement has been endorsed by:
Lice Cokanasiga, Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG), Fiji;
Nerida-Ann Hubert, Nauru Youth Council, Nauru;
Josephine Kalsuak, SPC/RRRT, Vanuatu;
Rosa Koian, Bismarck Ramu Group, Papua New Guinea;
Eweata Maata, Kiribati;
Arieta Moceica, Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC); Fiji;
Reeti Onorio, School of Development Studies, USP, Kiribati;
Ender Rence, Solomon Islands Development Trust, Solomon Islands;
Lu’isa Samani, Women’s and Children’s Crisis Centre, Tonga;
Kairangi Samuela, Cook Islands Women’s Counselling Centre: Punanga
Taturu, Cook Islands;
Filomena Tuivanualevu, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, Fiji;
Sainimere Veitata, Nesian350, Fiji.

Source: Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)

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