The President of the Republic of Marshall Islands, Her Excellency Ms Hilda Heine delivered the statement on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum members for the Sixty Second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) on the 12th March 2018. Her Excellency Heine outlined in the statement the unique challenges that the pacific region faces due to its vulnerability and susceptibility to climate change impacts especially when it comes to the disproportionate impacts on women and girls living in rural areas. This hinders development and continues to create a huge economic loss for the region given that around 75% to 90% of all market vendors in the pacific region are women. The statement reinforces “the Blue Pacific” theme by the PIF leaders as the identity of the pacific grounded in the intimate connection to the Pacific Ocean and a call for collective action at country level and regional level to overcome such challenges.
The PIF statement welcomed the theme of CSW62 - Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls;- and noted the promotion of regional initiatives that advance the rights of rural women through access to health, improved connectivity, appropriate and accessible ICT, economic opportunities and better return for women in the fisheries and agriculture sector, labour mobility opportunities, and the realization of the rights of rural women and girls with disabilities.
Her Excellency Hilda Heine also noted measureable progress in the region such as gender parity in education in most pacific countries and improved legislative frameworks to support the efforts to end violence against women.