Port Vila, Vanuatu – The importance and leadership role of women in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters and the impacts of climate change, has been recognised as key to ensuring resilient communities in Vanuatu through the launch of a new programme.
The Women’s Resilience to Disaster (WRD) programme was launched on 8 December 2022 by the Vanuatu Government through Ministry of Justice and Community Welfare and Ministry of Climate Change in partnership with UN Women and the Australian Government.
Through the Women’s Resilience to Disasters (WRD) programme, UN Women and the Australian Government supported a nine person delegation from across Fiji, Kiribati, and Vanuatu to attend the conference, and advocate for gender-responsive disaster risk reduction governance including women’s meaningful participation and leadership.
The WRD programme is working alongside the Ministry of Justice and Community Services, the Ministry of Climate Change, civil society organisations, and the private sector to build women’s resilience and leadership in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
“Achieving gender equality and social inclusion in the context of climate change and disaster risk reduction requires whole of society and whole of government approaches. We see the Women’s Resilience to Disasters Programme as an important component of Government’s efforts to pave the way for a more equal and resilient future,” said Director General Mr. Arthur Faerua, Director General, Ministry of Justice and Community Service, Vanuatu. UN Women undertook extensive consultations across the Pacific to inform the WRD programme and is already implementing it in Fiji, Kiribati, and Vanuatu with the roll out in each country reflecting the needs expressed by local populations during the consultation phase.
In Vanuatu, the programme will focus on strengthening early warning systems, disaster preparedness and management and the use of technology, while at the same time, supporting women’s livelihoods and economic empowerment-all of which were highlighted as critical through the consultation.
“It is critical to ensure that the women and girls themselves are able to bring their knowledge, expertise and innovation to the process of building their capacity, as they are the most knowledgeable on how they experience disasters and how they can effectively be resilient,” said UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO) Representative, Ms Delphine Serumaga.
First Secretary of the Australian High Commission in Vanuatu, Ms Stephanie Kimber, said the Women’s Resilience to Disaster Programme is especially significant for Vanuatu, “because women, girls and youth are disproportionally affected by disasters and threats, but most often left out of policy making, planning and preparedness decisions and actions.”
The programme will work alongside key actors, including women’s groups and civil society organisations, to bridge knowledge gaps, undertake research and collect data about women, and girls, diverse gender communities, and people with disabilities. Through this, it will provide input to government and to key actors within the Vanuatu disaster and emergency management and climate change response so the needs of all are considered and met.
Women’s Resilience to Disasters Programme
The Women’s Resilience to Disasters programme works alongside the women and girls of the Pacific to support their leadership, voice, agency, participation, and advocacy for disaster and climate resilience to build a more inclusive, secure, and resilient Pacific region for the benefit of all. The programme is supporting Pacific women, their governments, and other stakeholders to create and lead Pacific solutions which weave gender equality, diversity and inclusion into disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, and recovery policy frameworks, systems, processes, budgets, and action.
By supporting local leadership and solutions, the programme is contributing to regional and global knowledge sharing and advocacy on women’s leadership for disaster resilience. The programme is driven at the country level in Fiji, Kiribati and Vanuatu and is supported by a regional Pacific component, and a global component.