A Handbook on Pacific Gender Equity and Social Inclusion in Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture has been launched by the Pacific Community (SPC).
The handbook provides practical guidance on how to improve gender and social inclusion and is targeted at Pacific Island government staff working in fisheries and aquaculture. It also focuses on the responsibilities of Pacific Island governments to help promote sustainable development outcomes for people who rely on coastal fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods.
Launching the Handbook at the SPC headquarters in Noumea, its Deputy Director-General Cameron Diver said: “This Handbook will be an invaluable resource on its own, but when used in conjunction with training it will have a major impact on shaping future policy. The Pacific Community is dedicated to helping build the capacity of Pacific Island governments and its partners in this important area.”
The Handbook was developed as collaborative effort by multilateral, donor and civil society organisations in the region, with more than 30 people from 20 different organisations involved in its production. Fourteen of these people served as authors, while others contributed through participation in three regional writing workshops held in Fiji in 2017 and 2018. This broad involvement of people from organisations around the Pacific is a testament to the importance of this work.
Speaking as Chief Guest during the launch, Pam Maru, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Marine Resources in the Cook Islands said: “There is a definite need to promote the roles women play in the fisheries sector and to create more positive visibility around them. The issue of gender imbalance continues to exist and there are many reasons for this. One main issue is the lack of women role models in this sector. Usually young girls don’t aspire to work in the sector and if they do, it’s usually by default – for instance, as lawyers, monitoring and evaluation specialists and so forth.”
“The production of this Gender Handbook for Fisheries and Aquaculture and its excellent modules will further enhance the visibility of women’s roles in this sector and will enable Pacific Island government staff working on coastal fisheries and aquaculture to consider gender equity and social inclusion in their work,” Ms Maru said.
The Handbook, whose first edition consists of five modules, includes many examples and case studies from the region. The aim is to have the publication be as useful as possible for fisheries and aquaculture staff, hence, it will be trialled in training for government staff from around the region and will be revised based on lessons learned from this testing.
The Pacific Gender Equity and Social Inclusion in Coastal and Aquaculture Handbook was developed through several writing workshops funded by the Australian Government, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Subregional Office in Apia.
Other participating partner and author affiliate organisations include: Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), Centre of Excellence on Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (JCU), Charles Darwin University, Fiji Ministry of Fisheries, Kiribati Ministry of Environment Lands and Agricultural Development (MELAD), Kiribati Islands Conservation Society (KICS), Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Samoa Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership (SICCP), Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Vanuatu Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation (DEPC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Women in Fisheries Network – Fiji (WiFN-Fiji), and WorldFish.