The project will provide Pacific young women with training and opportunities to access climate change science services; and to engage in the local and national disaster and climate change policy conversation.
The two-day inception workshop brought together 13 young women leaders from across Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Australia to strengthen their leadership skills for climate action in the Pacific. The workshop supports young Pacific women to be weather ready and climate smart; empowering them to put forward locally-led solutions to climate change.
The Pacific Young Women Responding to Climate Change project will build on intergenerational and cultural knowledge to grow young women’s leadership on climate change. It will support 150 young women from six Pacific Island countries; most of whom are experienced climate activists.
One of these young women, Helena Seneka from the Young Women Christian Association, Papua New Guinea (PNG) who represents the Coalition on the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP) Youth Hub, said she aims to create a movement of young women leaders to drive climate action.
“We believe that we can mobilise, educate, enable and empower young women to take an inclusive approach to influence climate change policies, programs and services,” she said.
Young women like Helena are already experiencing first-hand the impacts of climate change. The group repeatedly expressed concerns around the increased frequency of extreme weather events and rising sea levels which both have devastating impacts on livelihoods, food security and gender equality.
The project will increase young women’s engagement with climate services across the Pacific and build their leadership skills to support early warning for their communities.
Sabrina Brown, who leads Vanuatu Young Women for Change, said just solutions must go beyond the environmental impacts of climate change.
“Our vision is to respond to the economic impacts of climate change on young women in Vanuatu. We young women want young women to move forward and be recognised at all levels,” she said.
Keynote speaker, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, the Honourable Fiame Naomi Mataafa encouraged the group to strive to be galvanising leaders in climate action.
“Be cognisant of your journey. Be curious. You also have to be very grounded in your own sense of identity, your values. At the end of the day you have to be true to yourself,” she said.
During the final session of the workshop representatives from each country presented their ideas to DFAT representatives about what support they need to empower other young women in their community with knowledge and resilience to respond to climate change. Their statements collectively expressed a need to engage local women in the decision-making processes on climate action.
ActionAid is working in partnership with the Shifting the Power Coalition (StPC) on this project to support women to lead emergency responses and claim power in times of crisis. The StPC is responding to the increase in climate change induced disasters across the Pacific; supporting them with the training, technology and networks to act on climate change.
Supporting young women with the knowledge and technology to represent their communities and be powerful leaders as they face the impacts of climate change.