Press release: Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery Project for Palau


(L-R): Palau Vice President Raynold B. Oilouch, Chairman of Palau Speaker's Association Sylverius Tellei, Palau Women's Community Groups Representative Kyoko April, Palau Red Cross Society Board Chairman Santy Asanuma, UN Women Representative Nicolas Burniat, and Vicar of Catholic Mission Father Rusk Saburo at the launch. Photo: Courtesy of Palau Red Cross Society

Koror, Palau – As we celebrate the 25th year anniversary of the Mechesil Belau (Women of Palau) Conference with the Republic of Palau, UN Women and the Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) is also proud to mark the launch of an emergency preparedness, response and recovery project in the country aimed at empowering women.

The ‘Women’s Empowerment through Emergency Preparedness, Crisis Response and Recovery’ project, funded by WPHF aims to partner with eight locally based organisations to train 200 community women in disaster preparedness, response and recovery, to be first responders and community leaders in humanitarian response.

The project will be implemented through Palau Red Cross Society and the Centre for Women’s Empowerment Belau (C-WEB) and will work with local women’s organisations to organize trainings across eight of the most vulnerable of Palau’s 16 states.

“We are excited to be partnering with Palau Red Cross and C-WEB in the implementation of this critical initiative in Palau that target’s women’s empowerment in the disaster management space, a timely and topical intervention in the face of a changing climate,” said UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Representative a.i., Nicolas Burniat.

Communities in the Pacific tend to be the most vulnerable to disasters and have a higher degree of vulnerability to climate change than other regions given the isolated nature of the islands and our geography. Being situated in the Northern Pacific adds to Palau’s vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters.

“Women and girls tend to be additionally disadvantaged during disasters and the aim of this project will be to reduce some of those inherent inequalities by investing in gendered capacity building to enable women to prepare, respond, and lead early recovery in times of disasters,” said Mr. Burniat.

Palau Red Cross Board Chairman Mr. Santy Asanuma speaking at the launch of the emergency preparedness, response and recovery project. Photo: Courtesy of Palau Red Cross Society

Palau Red Cross Society is a not-for-profit humanitarian organization, established in 1997 and the Centre for Women’s Empowerment Belau is a national based organisation in Palau started in 2014 to promote gender equality. They are two of the eight Pacific organisations that UN Women is supporting through critical funding made possible by WPHF, which is contributing close to USD$300,000 towards the project. WPHF is a rapid financing mechanism supporting quality interventions to enhance the capacity of local women to prevent conflict, respond to crises, and seize key peacebuilding opportunities.

“WPHF is thrilled to see the rapid financing that we mobilize from around the world directly support the women of Palau, strengthening their agency to be key players in the humanitarian response of their communities. The objectives of the proposed project resonate deeply with the vision of our fund, and we are confident this investment will produce dividends for women’s enhanced capacity to engage and lead in essential recovery efforts in the northern Pacific,” said WPHF Head of Secretariat, Ghita El-Khyari.

“The Palau Red Cross Society is grateful for the support from UN Women and WPHF to enable this important project.  All partners and stakeholders are deeply committed to the overall goal of empowering local Palauan women at the grassroots level to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from any form of disasters.  We strongly believe and are confident that this timely project will further advance local capacities throughout the disaster management continuum,” said Palau Red Cross Society Executive Director J. Maireng Sengebau.

The project activities are expected to begin in September this year and end in February of year 2020.

For further information please visit:

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Sarika Chand |Media and Communications Specialist, UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office
Phone: (+679) 9239857 | Email:

Matthew Rullo | Communications Analyst, Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund
Phone: (+210) 2550175 | Email:

Michelle Ueda | Dissemination & Communications Officer, Palau Red Cross Society
Phone: (680) 488-5780 / (680) 775-PRCS (7727) | Email:


Gender and Protection in Humanitarian Action and Disaster Risk Reduction Programme

In the Pacific, cyclones, floods and droughts are increasing in both intensity and frequency, with devastating impact, especially on women and girls who are 14 times more likely than men to die or be injured. In addition, the skills of many Pacific women are often under-utilised in disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

The Gender and Protection in Humanitarian Action programme works to strengthen the capacity of humanitarian actors in the Pacific to integrate gender and protection in their work, and to lead the mainstreaming of gender and protection through the entire humanitarian system at national levels in countries across the Pacific region. Additionally, UN Women aims to strengthen the role of women as key actors in humanitarian action. UN Women provides leadership to the regional Pacific Humanitarian Protection Cluster, bringing together together UN agencies, regional and international organisations with local authorities to identify and fulfill the needs of impacted communities.

Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF)

The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) is a flexible and rapid financing mechanism. It supports quality interventions to enhance the capacity of local women to prevent conflict, respond to crises and emergencies, and seize key peacebuilding opportunities. As the WPHF is a partnership between Member States, UN, and civil society, all stakeholders are represented on its Funding Board. UN Women globally provides secretariat support and ensures coordination to implement the decisions of the Funding Board with UN Women Fiji MCO chairing the Pacific steering committee with members including UN OCHA, UNFPA, UNDP, IFRC, femLINKpacific, Pacific Forum Island Secretariat and Australian DFAT.  WPHF donors currently include: Australia, Canada, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein and Lithuania.

Mechesil Belau Conference

Mechesil Belau (Women of Palau) is a women’s group composed of traditional women leaders from each state and has been instrumental in amplifying women’s voices on key issues. The Mechesil Belau Conference, held annually, brings together national leaders, program managers and other key agencies from all areas of government to address issues of concern to the people, and especially women, of Palau.