Nadi, Fiji (1 May 2019) – Thirteen women from across the Pacific are in Nadi this week to participate in a climate change negotiators workshop in preparation for their active and effective participation at the UNFCCC negotiations to be held in Bonn (Germany) this June and at the 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) meeting to be held in Santiago (Chile) in December.

The three-day workshop will be facilitated by the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) and is the sixth climate change negotiators workshop supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), part of an ongoing program designed to amplify Pacific women’s voices in climate diplomacy. With the support from DFAT, across five workshops, this program has trained 62 Pacific Island women leaders in climate diplomacy and supported over half of these women to attend the UN climate negotiations within a year of their training.

The Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, HE Mr. John Feakes, said “Australia works closely with the Pacific to help the region’s voice be heard in international climate change negotiations. Women bring a valuable perspective to these discussions, and this training program has a strong record of success in supporting women negotiators with this important work.”

The workshop is a response to growing evidence of issues stemming from intersections between gender equality and a rapidly changing climate, and addresses the critical role women negotiators can play in addressing them. The participants in this workshop are graduates of previous workshops and training programmes designed for preparing newer negotiators to be effective negotiators and contribute to their delegations, and this advanced training will build from that foundation to enhance participants’ leadership skills and ability to navigate complex negotiations.

One participant noted after her first workshop, “Training workshops like this are very important because they help build and strengthen the capacity of women in developing countries in the Pacific in negotiating, public speaking and diplomacy. It provides a window for women to experience firsthand what the negotiations are like, what to expect from them, etc., especially at an international level, and a great opportunity for women in the Pacific to step up in their roles and make a difference in their communities, workplaces and countries in the face of climate change.”

During the past several years of international climate change negotiations, nations have established the need to promote gender equality and protect women’s human rights for effective action on climate change. This has occurred in parallel to global milestones like the endorsement of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

WEDO has been supporting the leadership of women in the UN climate negotiations for a decade now via a program entitled the Women Delegates Fund. The Fund provides both direct travel support to women to attend the climate change meetings such as COP25, as well as capacity building opportunities such as this workshop.

“Women’s equal participation in climate change decision-making is fundamental to just policies that reflect and respond to the needs of the global community. Investing in women’s participation and leadership in the UN climate negotiations is the first step,” Bridget Burns, WEDO Director said. Australia and WEDO will support participants to attend both the upcoming intersessional negotiations in Germany and the UNFCCC COP25 negotiations in Santiago, Chile at the year’s end.

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