Description/achievement of initiative
The Pacific Islands Women's Caucus is a network of women parliamentarians, women's rights organisations and women's rights activists aiming to increase the voice and influence of Pacific Women in democratic processes and decision making to advance women's rights and development justice in the Pacific island and territories. It aims to ensure that women's voices, rights, participation and representation are integrated in all Pacific regional processes, decisions, instruments, policies and structures. The Caucus has two wings: a) a parliamentary caucus; and b) a civil society caucus. The idea was borne out of the recognition that there is a need to mobilize women parliamentarians, women's human rights groups and activists from across the Pacific islands collectively. And that a sustainable and equitable community requires the empowerment and participation of all members of it, including women. Through its capacity-building, exchanges and networking activities, the caucus will be able to empower a movement that promotes women's democratic participation and leadership. Women having a key role in developing, implementing and monitoring development policies at local, national, regional and international level ensures that the needs and voices of women from the Pacific island for a sustainable development is heard.
The initial discussions around the Caucus has identified 4 broad strategies it will undertake: 1) Building the capacity of women in the Pacific Islands2) Increasing resource opportunities for women3) Influencing laws, policies and practices to advance women's rights and development justice in the Pacific Islands4) Building political, structural change, alliances and movements in the Pacific Islands of women leaders, parliamentarians, organisations and activists.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
Members of the Caucuses have started to identify capacity building needs which include policy development, understanding and influencing global and regional processes and agreements, leadership, media and campaigning skills. Capacity building may be conducted by the members and supporting institutions but also by other bodies supportive of the Caucuses.
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
The Caucus will model Pacific women's leadership that is united, collaborative, democratic, accountable and transformative in advancing women’s rights and development justice nationally, regionally and internationally. The programme and content of the Caucus will be determined by its own members with institutional support from APWLD. It will comprise of two linked caucuses - a parliamentary caucus and a civil society caucus. The Parliamentary Women's Caucus will comprise of currently sitting women members of national parliaments and equivalent national legislative bodies from the Pacific islands and territories. The Civil Society Women's Caucus will comprise of (and not limited to) former member of parliaments, women's rights groups, organisations and activists from the Pacific islands and territories. While the two Caucuses will have different composition, the Caucuses will work, facilitate, coordinate, collaborate, exchange and support each other for the purpose of engaging with various human rights and development processes and structures in the Pacific and beyond. The Caucus will also facilitate networking and engagement with women from outside the Pacific Islands and territories and other existing partnerships in the region. It will promote women's voices in key debates in the Pacific, not only around topics designated as women's issues, but more broadly to promote human rights and development justice for all. It will also play a key role in developing, implementing and monitoring policies impacting on women at local, national and regional levels.The two Caucuses however, will not be rigid in its structure and will maintain an open format for the period 2014. It will welcome the expression of interests, involvement and participation of more women parliamentarians, women's rights organisations and women's rights activists. An interim coordination process will continue until 2015 when a new mechanism, structure, activities and resources will be institutionalised to ensure long-term support for the Caucus as well as facilitating the participation of other Pacific islands not yet part of the Caucus.
Women parliamentarian, women's organisations and activists of the following countries: Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Island, Cook Island, Papua New Guinea, West Papua, Marshall Island, Timor-Leste.