A commitment to further uphold women’s rights and support services in Fiji

Date: Monday, May 6, 2019

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

(Suva, Fiji) – The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has formalized its ongoing partnership with the UN Women Fiji Multi-Country-Office through today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

The signing cements support to the Ministry for gender equality and ending violence against women (EVAW) projects being coordinated in partnership with UN Women Fiji MCO.

UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office Representative Sandra Bernklau and Fiji’s Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa at the MOU Signing. Photo: UN Women/Sarika Chand

The support from UN Women Fiji MCO is largely through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership) funded by the European Union and Australian Government with support from UN Women.

“This is an historic milestone binding us further together in our work towards gender equality including the elimination of violence against women and girls and improving women’s economic empowerment,” said the, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Honorable Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

“The Ministry is especially appreciative to the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls made possible through funds from the European Union and Australian Government with support from UN Women,” said Minister Vuniwaqa.

“It’s about working together to ensure evidence-based, collaborative approaches to best support the rights of women and girls in Fiji, including the provision of quality services to support survivors of domestic violence while ensuring they are treated with the dignity, respect and care they deserve,” she said.

The partnership supports the mission of the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation (MWCPA) to ensure that families and communities are supported through social welfare and gender mainstreaming programs.

Joint MWCPA and UN Women projects, supported under the Pacific Partnership, include implementing key priorities in the Women’s Plan of Action 2010-2019 and 2014 Fiji National Gender Policy on the Elimination of Violence Against Women; developing National Standards for Shelters for Survivors of Gender Based Violence; and community-based violence prevention programmes using faith and sport.

Speaking at the signing, Sandra Bernklau, Representative for the UN Women Fiji MCO, said “this is a significant signing with the Government of Fiji that further affirms the trusted partnership between UN Women and the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.” 

“Developing and nurturing partnerships is critical in advancing gender equality. And partnerships are the very reason why we are here today committing our services and support to our long-standing partners, the Ministry and to the Government of Fiji,” Ms Bernklau said.

UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office Representative Sandra Bernklau and Fiji’s Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa at the MOU Signing. Photo: UN Women/Sarika Chand

“A central component of this MoU is to escalate our mutual commitment to ending violence against women and girls, in particular under the new Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls supported by the European Union and Australian Government.

“Government involvement and leadership is a central pillar to the success of this programme, and we welcome the collaborative partnership approach being led by the Ministry in formalising this MoU,” Ms Bernklau said.

In addition to ending violence against women and girls, the MOU covers areas which both the Government of Fiji and UN Women have determined as priorities for gender equality. This includes women’s economic empowerment through the Markets for Change project, women and leadership, support to compliance with international gender equality commitments and ensuring that women and girls are not left behind during a disaster.

The EUR 19.5million Pacific Partnership programme is funded primarily by the European Union (EUR 12.7m) with targeted support from the Australian Government (EUR 6.2m) and cost-sharing from UN Women (EUR 0.6m). The programme brings together governments, civil society organisations, communities and other partners to promote gender equality, prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG), and increase access to quality response services for survivors. The programme’s three outcome areas are jointly implemented through a partnership between the Pacific Community (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (Forum Secretariat) and UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO).

UN Women’s Markets for Change project is principally funded by the Australian Government, and since 2018 the project partnership has expanded to include funding support from the Government of Canada. UNDP is a project partner.

 

Media enquiries should be directed to:
Joeli Vueti, Media Liaison Officer, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Ph:3312199 or Email: joeli.vueti@govnet.gov.fj or Richard Nath, Media Liaison Officer, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Email: richardnath007@gmail.com
Jacqui Berrell, UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office, Tel. +679 330 1178 (ext 125) or 9429 141 Email: jacqui.berrell@unwomen.org