Prime Minister of Samoa leading Delegation To Antigua For SIDS Conference

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa touring the Pacific Pavillion at the Punanga Nui Market in Rarotonga. (Photo: PIF)

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER– Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa is leading a strong delegation to the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Antigua and Barbuda.

Samoa has remained a committed participant in SIDS conferences, reflecting its ongoing dedication to addressing the unique challenges faced by small island nations.

Gender Equality Forum: A crucial prelude to SIDS 4 Ahead of the main SIDS Conference, the Gender Equality Forum will be held on May 25-26, 2024.

Prime Minister Fiame Dr. Naomi Mata’afa will deliver the opening remarks via a recorded message. This forum aims to unite key stakeholders from SIDS countries to share experiences and explore strategies for addressing critical gender issues impacting women and girls. Topics include youth and elderly engagement, violence against women and girls, unpaid care work, inclusive access to finance, and gender-responsive climate resilience and disaster response.

Co-hosted by UN Women and the Caribbean Development Bank, the forum will also focus on sustainable financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women. It provides a platform to amplify the voices of women and girls globally and fosters networking among civil society and government representatives across SIDS.

The delegation includes government officials Afioga Peseta Noumea Simi, Afioga Fatumanava Dr. Pa’olelei Luteru, Afioga Sauoaiga Olive Kaio from the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD), and representatives from civil society organisations such as Doris Tulifau of Brown Girl Woke, Nadia Meredith Hunt, and youth leaders Adelaide Nafoi and Enesi Teloma.

This strong representation ensures Samoa’s active participation in various sessions and discussions during the SIDS 4 Conference. The first Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States took place in Bridgetown, Barbados, in 1994.

“It is an opportunity we can’t miss as a SIDS nation. Two full days of conversations between high-level delegates and communities and civil society, which play a significant role in accountability to citizens,” said Doris Tulifau, Founder of Brown Girl Woke, who will attend both the Gender Equality Forum and the main SIDS Conference.

Emphasizing gender equality and economic empowerment Samoa emphasized gender equality under the SAMOA Pathway 2014. The delegation aims to highlight the importance of international cooperation and solidarity in addressing gender equality issues, focusing on SIDS-specific solutions for women’s economic empowerment.

As part of the Gender Equality Forum, UN Women, through the Markets for Change (M4C) Project, is organizing a market space for vendors from the Pacific to promote and sell Pacific-made handicrafts. Masina Schuster, President of the Fugalei Market Vendor Association, will represent Samoa alongside vendors from Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Vanuatu.

“It is an honor to travel to the SIDS Conference with the Samoa delegation and represent the voices of market vendors from our country. As a woman in the informal economy, I understand the unique challenges women face. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story and learn from other delegates, which I will share with our Market Vendor Association when I return home. Together, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and equal society for all,” said Schuster.

Showcasing Samoa’s commitment to sustainability and climate action Samoa’s participation in the SIDS conference is significant for several reasons. The conference provides an opportunity for Samoa to highlight its efforts in sustainability and share best practices with other small island nations. Samoa’s commitment to renewable energy, biodiversity conservation, and gender-responsive climate resilience and disaster risk management will be showcased as models for other countries.

The conference also allows Samoa to raise awareness about the urgent need for action on climate change and environmental protection. As a low-lying island nation, Samoa is at high risk of sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and coastal erosion exacerbated by climate change.

Adelaide Nafo’i, attending the SIDS Youth Summit supported by UNICEF, remarked, “It is an amazing opportunity to strengthen youth voices and build a sustainable future. The theme of this year’s summit, ‘Empowering Youth Voices for Sustainable Development in the SIDS Region,’ is a good initiative to inspire today’s youth to act now for a sustainable future.”

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