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Civil Society, Major Groups and Social Movements
Nadi, Fiji 9-10 June 2014
We are Pacific feminists, youth advocates, climate change advocates and representatives of diverse civil society organisations (CSOs), networks, and alliances working for gender, economic, and ecological justice and political transformation, from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. In an inaugural gathering, we met in Nadi, Fiji from the 9th- 10th June 2014, where we critically strategised toward a more effective advancement of Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the Pacific region.
Pacific women and girls as well as their communities face multiple challenges of being ecologically complex and remote small island States, aggravated by high levels of economic, social, and environmental injustice. As recognized by the 5th Women’s Ministerial Meeting (2013), climate change is one of the most serious threats to the lives, lands, and cultures of Pacific people. Communities facing high levels of poverty and hardships, including those in informal urban settlements in coastal and estuarine areas, are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.
To urgently address these existential crises, we call for an inter-linkage approach that analyses the political, physical, ecological, economic, and social dimensions of these overlapping challenges through one holistic frame. The bringing together of different sectors, alliances, and government ministries will be necessary to ensure a truly transformative agenda for gender, social, ecological, and economic justice in the Pacific and globally. A fundamental shift in policy is necessary to incorporate a gender perspective in climate change programmes and initiatives, as well as in regional and international negotiations, to support the advancement of gender equality.
Any sustainable development framework post-2015 must be grounded in social inclusion and equity, human security and sustainable peace, the fulfilment of human rights for all and gender equality. We seek fundamental structural and transformational changes to the current neoliberal, extractivist and exclusive development model that perpetuates inequalities of wealth, power and resources between countries, within countries and between women and men. We challenge the current security paradigm that invests heavily in militarized peace and security, and call for a switch from the current model of over- consumption and production to one of sustainable consumption, production, and distribution, and a new ecological sustainability plan that applies a biosphere approach and respect for planetary boundaries.
This transformational shift requires the redistribution of unequal and unfair burdens on women and girls in sustaining societal wellbeing and economies, intensified in times of violence and conflict, as well as during economic and ecological crises. It must tackle intersecting and structural drivers of inequalities, and multiple forms of discrimination based on gender, age, class, caste, race, ethnicity, geographic location, place of origin, cultural or religious background, sexual orientation, gender identity, health status, and abilities. This involves reviewing and reforming existing laws and policies that criminalize consensual behaviours related to sexuality and reproduction.
A development model that will work for women and girls of all ages and identities must be firmly rooted in international human rights principles and obligations, including non-retrogression, progressive realization, and the Rio principles, including common but differentiated responsibilities, as well as the fulfillment of the Cairo Program of Action, the Beijing Platform for Action, the outcome documents of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, and the declarations adopted by the Commission on the occasion of the tenth and fifteenth anniversaries of the Fourth World Conference on Women. The development model must also reaffirm the international commitments made through the Yogyakarta Principles, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888 and 1960, and the relevant conventions of the International Labour Organization, that obligate our States to adopt legal and policy frameworks for the elimination and prevention of all forms of sexual and gender based violence.
We commend our leaders for the strong positions taken in the Majuro Declaration on Climate Leadership (2013) and urge immediate national implementation. We also recall the existing Pacific State commitments including the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration (2012); the Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security (2012); the Final Communiqué of the 40th Pacific Islands Forum, including the Pacific Leaders Declaration on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (2010), the Pacific Platform for Action on Advancement of Women and Gender Equality (2013), and the outcomes of the 12th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 5th Pacific Women’s Ministerial Meeting (2013).
We remind the Pacific States of their obligations and accountability to translate gender equality and human rights commitments into legislation, policy and budget allocations, and to make these norms and standards the guiding principles of contemporary Pacific societies. This must be fully reflected in the framework for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, the Small Islands Developing States process, the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, and National Strategic Development Plans.
We therefore call for: