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Advancing Gender in Local Level Government in Bougainville

Press Release, 25 February 2013

Advancing Gender in Local Level Government in Bougainville

BUKA, The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Pacific is currently on a two week scoping mission to Bougainville to implement a component of the Pacific FLOW Program. The team is visiting the region’s main administrative centre of Buka and will also travel to Arawa in the southern part of the country.

Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women or FLOW, is a new fund initiated by the Dutch Foreign Ministry to strengthen the rights and opportunities for women and girls worldwide. The Pacific FLOW Program is a four year (2012-2015) multi-country program managed by the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), a not-for-profit civil society organisation based in Australia. The Program works with a wide range of Pacific regional and local partners to increase women’s civil and political leadership in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Bougainville to drive gender equality.

The Program focuses on four outcomes: increasing women’s civil society engagement and representation, mobilising young women to participate in decision-making, increasing gender equality commitments at the local government level and increasing voter willingness and community support for women in leadership positions.

CLGF Pacific is a lead partner responsible for the implementation of the local government component of the Pacific FLOW program. Since arriving in Buka, the introduction of the FLOW program has been greatly received and supported. The scoping team has met with the Division of Local Level Government for Bougainville, the Minister for Local Government Hon. Rev Joseph Nopei and the Minister for Community Development, Hon. Melchoir Dare. The team has also been working with officers of Buka Urban Council, women representatives from the Councils of Elders as well as the Bougainville Women’s Federation (BWF). CLGF plans to continue meetings with relevant stakeholders when they travel to Arawa next week.

A core aim of the mission is to introduce the idea of using urban councils in Bougainville as Centres of Excellence (COE’s) for Gender in Local Government. This will involve providing sustained support to the Buka and Arawa Urban Councils to mainstream gender into their policies, programs and service delivery through technical support, on-the-job training and council-to-council technical twinning with PNG Urban LLGs and Australian Councils. The concept will build on experience that CLGF Pacific has gained over several years working at the local government level in adapting and implementing gender training across the Pacific region (most recently in PNG) using the UN-Habitat Gender in Local Government Toolkit and the PNG Good Practice Scheme involving council-to-council twinning between Urban LLGs and Australian Councils. It has arisen from the realisation that the only way to make a difference at the local level is to start council by council. The Pacific FLOW Program aims to target eight councils across Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Bougainville for the pilot phases of the COE’s.

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) is a not-for-profit, intergovernmental organisation representing the interests of its members who are ministers of local government, local government associations and individual governments together with other organisations with a professional interest in local government across the Commonwealth.

CLGF Pacific is based in Suva, Fiji and works with nine countries in the Pacific region: the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, PNG, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Its key role is to advocate to and on behalf of the local government sector on key governance and development issues, including gender equity and women’s empowerment. CLGF Pacific also provides program and policy advice, technical assistance and training, and applied research services to its members and the local government sector generally.

ENDS

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