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UN Launches Programme On Gender Responsive Peacebuilding In Extractive Industries In Isabel Province, Solomon Islands

Honiara – The UN, through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), launched a programme Wednesday on Gender Responsive Peacebuilding in Extractive Industries in Isabel Province.

The programme will operate under three broad outcome areas: creating an enabling environment to support the human rights of women and the participation of women in community-based peacebuilding processes; ensuring women are able to drive change within communities via peacebuilding dialogues; and coordinating between civil society organisations and governments to improve the quality of service provision to women facing violations as a result of conflict dynamics between communities and extractive industries.

The launch of the programme in Honiara was attended by the Honourable Samuel Manetoali, Minister for Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs; Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator; Mr Pär Liljert, IOM Chief of Mission and Coordinator for the Pacific; and Dr. Jennifer Butler, UNFPA Pacific Director.

Implemented by IOM and UNFPA, the programme seeks to include women, in communities adjacent to extractive industries in Isabel Province, in local peacebuilding processes. Previous IOM programming in the Solomon Islands and the broader Pacific region has been used to inform the conceptualization and development of this programme.

In a speech delivered at the launch event, Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator, outlined how the programme will empower women in Isabel Province. “The programme strives to provide women with the enabling environment, skills and networks to more effectively access and lead rights-based dispute resolution processes. The action will work in both informal and formal decision-making spaces, alongside the justice system, so as to systematically include women in local peacebuilding processes,” said Mr Samarasinha.

As is the case across the world, women in the Solomon Islands have previously been disenfranchised in local peacebuilding processes by gendered social norms and power structures. The programme launched today seeks to enhance gender equity and the empowerment of women in these processes, and builds on the UN’s previous work in the region, in this critically important field.

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