[Suva, Fiji – June 10] A meeting later this week in Nadi will consider how culture may be used to help address gender based violence instead of being used as an excuse for perpetrating it.
The consultation on Women’s Empowerment for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence in the Pacific will be attended by a cross section of development professionals drawn from governments, national and regional women’s organizations, academic institutions and development partners. The Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will be represented at the consultation. It is jointly organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women.
The three-day consultation will take place in Nadi from June 13 to June 15 with the expected outcome being a better understanding and agreement on a range of actions at national and regional level that could be adopted to promote increased dialogue amongst leaders and policy makers on the contribution societies’ cultural heritage can make to addressing issues of gender inequality and reducing gender based violence.
The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Fiji, Knut Ostby will deliver opening remarks. Dr Sue Vize, the Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States, and Doreen Buettner from UN Women will also speak at the opening session.
A feature of the three day consultation will be consideration of specific case studies from the Pacific on how women have led peace building initiatives in their communities and how cultural norms of the time have helped shape these initiatives.