Pacific Gender champion urges stronger female representation and accountability at COP28

Photo: PINA

Pacific Gender Champion and Niue’s Minister for Natural Resources, Mona Ainu’u, has delivered a passionate call for stronger female representation and accountability at COP28, emphasising the urgent need for positive outcomes in climate action.

Speaking on an online briefing with Pacific Media ahead of the start of COP28 in Dubai, Ainu’u shared her insights on gender empowerment and the critical role women play in climate decision-making.

Reflecting on her tenure as Minister of Natural Resources, Ainu’u highlighted the challenges and achievements, with a particular focus on being a champion for gender and social inclusion. 

“Being the champion for gender and social inclusion has been one of my biggest achievements,” she declared, emphasising her commitment to amplifying the voices of women and girls in the Pacific.

Ainu’u both a woman and a mother, passionately expressed her belief in the potential of the Pacific to be a global leader in women’s empowerment and leadership. 

She recounted her experience in August, where she joined 33 women parliamentarians from the Pacific in New Zealand, lamenting the absence of women at the high-level climate change meeting in Fiji.

“I saw no woman at the table, and that breaks my heart because I’m so passionate about the women and girls and all that we do, but really we need to be at the decision-making table to ensure that we’re moving further than where we are now,” Ainu’u expressed.

Ainu’u stressed the importance of Pacific leaders having a unified voice, particularly in the face of distractions at COP. She called for solidarity to hold countries accountable for their commitments in the fight against climate chaos. 

“We need to hold these countries accountable,” she asserted, noting the slow progress on issues like Loss and Damage.

Encouraging a positive approach, Ainu’u emphasised the need for leaders to focus on positive outcomes.

“We need to be positive as people, as leaders coming in. Have a positive voice for our people because we’re happy people,” she stated, highlighting the resilience of Pacific Islands with joyful communities.

As COP28 approaches, Ainu’u made a heartfelt plea for positive outcomes and renewed commitment to revitalising the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration. 

She urged leaders to bring women to the table, recognising the value of their experiences and stories in shaping effective climate policies. “Calling on strong leadership, just allow us women to be at the table,” Ainu’u passionately concluded, underlining the critical role women play in the pursuit of a sustainable and resilient future for the Pacific and the world.

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