PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea—The Pacific Women in Maritime Association has elected a new executive committee and reaffirmed that the Pacific maritime sector must remain focused on meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls in the maritime sector.
The Second Regional Conference for Pacific Women in Maritime, held from April 26-28, was organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the International Maritime Organization, and the government of Papua New Guinea.
This conference was attended by representatives from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The meeting brought together women from the Pacific region’s maritime sector, including representatives from maritime administrations and regional partners, to review progress and decide on actions to give further effect to the 2016 Regional Conference resolution.
While addressing participants at the official opening, Helen Buni, IMO Focal Point for Women in Maritime, said, “IMO continues to support the participation of women in both shore-based and seagoing posts, in line with the priorities outlined under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
The conference acknowledged the major progress made since 2016 with the establishment of national associations in Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, in addition to the Papua New Guinea Women in Maritime Association which has been active since 2007.
The meeting saw a new executive committee of PacWIMA elected, with Papua New Guinea serving as chair. Outgoing chair Mavis Logavatu of Fiji said, “We acknowledge the enabling environment given to us as Pacific women in maritime, internationally, regionally and nationally. The progress of PacWIMA with the establishment of five Women in Maritime Associations during the last 2 years is a testament to our determination.”
Participants agreed on the objective, purpose and pillars of a regional strategy for Pacific Women in Maritime endorsed by the Pacific Transport Ministers at the 2017 meeting. They also called on maritime administrations to support national initiatives in the Pacific to progress gender equity in their maritime sector and networks of women in maritime in their own country.
SPC plays an active role supporting PacWIMA and SPC’s deputy director Maritime and Oceans, Thierry Nervale said, “We call on maritime administrations across the region to provide all necessary support to women in maritime networks at the regional and national levels to facilitate access for women at the highest levels of the maritime sector.”
The PacWIMA executive committee, represented by PNG, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands, will now work on implementing the agreed workplan and developing a regional strategy for the recognition, visibility and capacity building of women in the Pacific maritime sector. (SPC)