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Kaia HaneyAnnaleah Westerhaug
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On July 10 and 11, 2023, civil society leaders and Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) practitioners from across the Pacific Islands gathered virtually and in Suva, Fiji, for a two-day workshop focused on exploring the nexus of gender, climate, and food security. The workshop, titled “Advancing Women, Peace, and Security: Building Inclusive Resilience in the Pacific,” was organized by CNA and sponsored by US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM). The event was designed to build bridges between communities of practice implementing policies of inclusivity, disaster resilience, and sustainability. It built upon a virtual conference held in 2020 that sought to identify what security means to Pacific Islanders. This workshop highlighted the perspectives of women leaders to develop regionally informed answers to the following question: Looking through a gender lens, how do connections between climate change and food access affect security and stability in the Pacific Islands?

Over the two-day workshop, more than 20 attendees joined in person and another 50 joined via Zoom. Although the agenda included presentations and panels, the focus was on creating an interactive event with space for the voices of attendees. Representatives from USINDOPACOM opened the workshop, highlighting their goals of advancing WPS and improving climate change mitigation by working alongside regional partners and learning from women leaders. The event featured remarks from Adi Vasulevu Merewalesi Levu, executive director of Transcend Oceania, and Fay Volatabu, executive director of femLINKpacific. A facilitated panel discussion highlighted the voices and experiences of women leaders from Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.

Day one of the workshop featured presentations that were explored further on day two. CNA’s Dr. Casey Steadman delivered a presentation which explored a hypothetical 2025 tropical cyclone season and its potential impacts. The Pacific Disaster Center gave a presentation on its data-driven approach to tracking environmental disasters and presented a live demo of its early warning technologies. Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation supported the in-person component of this event, which was documented by local photography and videography organizations Boss Communications and Scenic Fiji. Participants were also offered the opportunity to record short videos about their experiences, and femLINKpacific hosted an in-person podcast recording; both efforts helped to amplify the voices of attendees.

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  • Publication Date: 11/30/2023