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NZDF Pacific Defence Gender Network plays key role in course

The New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) Pacific Defence Gender Network is supporting the inaugural Gender Advisor’s Course to be held in Fiji this week.

The course will reach out to members from across the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF), and prepare each individual student to perform the duties of a Gender Advisor within military operations, crisis response and during peace-time.

Based on the United States Indo-Pacific Command curriculum, students and observers from the RFMF, Fiji’s Ministry of Defence and their Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation will receive a diverse programme tailored to the Fijian audience.

The five days of learning will provide opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences and build a network to enhance their responsibility as advisors for applying gender perspectives across RFMF policy development, and in the planning and conduct of exercises and operations.

Squadron Leader Libby Reardon, lead for the NZDF Pacific Defence Gender Network, said there will be instructors from Fiji, New Zealand, USA, Australia and Japan alongside representatives from the United Nations, The Pacific Community (SPC) (a Noumea-headquartered international development organisation), religious leaders, National Disaster Management Office and Ministry of Defence.

“This is a great example of regional cooperation and collaboration to lend support to growing Fiji’s capability in the area and advance our Pacific partnerships, and it’s a positive model for other countries in the region,” Squadron Leader Reardon said.

RFMF senior officer Colonel Litea Seruiratu said the course demonstrates the long-standing commitment toward gender integration across the RFMF.

“The course shows Fiji’s firm commitment toward the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security,” Colonel Seruiratu said.

The NZDF Pacific Defence Gender Network was established in March 2019 in recognition that collaboration and cooperation across the Pacific can better enable inclusive practices that ensure gender diversity is reflected and valued in our region’s Defence Forces.

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