FIJI lacks the data to drive and inform policy-making, a challenge that was identified during the four-day 13 Triennial Conference of Pacific Women at Novotel, in Lami.
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Fiji Mereseini Vuniwaqa said there were key issues collateral to the empowerment of women, gender based violence which they were grappling in Fiji.
She said there would be a multi-sectoral approach, from different sectors, in infrastructure, in health and other sectors of the economy that will impact on the empowerment of women.
“So I am very happy with the outcomes document and the revised PPA and I am certain that we can go back now as a ministry and as a country to revisit what we have been doing and use the yardsticks that has been provided at this forum as a way to do a preliminary evaluation of what we are doing so far and what we can do better,” Vuniwaqa said.
“Apart from setting a roadmap on next steps, it also allows us as a government to measure what we have been doing so far, whether that is the direction that the region, as an entity taking and what it is that we can do differently and do better.”
According to Pacific Community (SPC) Director General Colin Tukuitonga, empowerment and gender equality have been the subject of talks within Pacific Island countries for decades, but somehow remain “ sluggish”.
While analaysing the outcome of the 13th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and Sixth Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women meeting, Tukuitonga said the document became the navigation chart or road map because it contained the collective submissions on what countries regarded as important.
“So for us now the challenge is set up funds, partnerships, the relationships, the resources that we need to make this happen,” Tukuitonga said.
“I am encouraged in particular with the endorsement of the pacific action plan and I am a little impatient with policy that is not followed with action.”
Tukuitonga, however, was keen on some actions which actually help Pacific Island countries to move forward despite the SPC viewing the outcomes document as a shopping list.
He said the document gave guidance on what participants regarded as important and what was needed to move this agenda forward.