Opening Remarks by SPC's Deputy Director-General Paula Vivili - US Embassy Grant Launch - Promoting women's participation and leadership in the Pacific's clean energy transition
- US Acting Assistant Secretary - Jennifer Littlejohn
- US Deputy Chief of Mission - John Degory
- SPC Principal Strategic Lead for Pacific Women - Mereseini Rakuita
- US Embassy colleagues
- The Pacific Community Team or SPC
- Young women leaders and women in STEM
- Distinguished guests
- Bula vinaka and warm pacific greetings
As the Pacific transitions towards a clean and low-carbon energy future, women and girls will play an important role in creating an energy secure Blue Pacific. Women are the primary users of energy within Pacific households and are increasingly at the forefront of scientific efforts to address climate change and electrify rural communities.
As we seek to increase living standards through improved energy sources and create a greener energy sector, we must ensure that this process is led by women and contributes to a more gender equal society. Not just including women as consumers of energy, but as change agents, policymakers, project planners, technicians, and advocates.
We at SPC have long recognised the importance of integrating gender equality into clean energy and championing women's leadership in the energy sector. From 2003 to 2014, SPC hosted the first Pacific Energy and Gender Network, which improved networking between stakeholders, as well as training and awareness on integrating gender into the Pacific energy sector.
We also have an important history of collaboration with the US government on women in the energy. In October last year, with the support of the US government, SPC brought together 86 key stakeholders at the Women in Energy Conference to then launch the Pacific Energy and Gender Strategic Action Plan 2020-2030 and establish the Pacific Energy and Gender Initiative.
The Pacific Energy and Gender Initiative works within SPC to implement the Action Plan, addressing gender equality by seeking to improve women's participation and leadership in clean energy policy, within the private sector, and at the community level.
At the fifth Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers Meeting in May, in Port Vila Vanuatu of this year, the Pacific Energy and Gender Initiative was officially endorsed, with pacific island countries and development partners called upon by Pacific energy and transport ministers for support as the Pacific transitions to a carbon neutral Blue Pacific by 2050.
Today marks the official beginning of implementation of the Action Plan through the gracious award of funding by the US government for the SPC project Promoting women's participation and leadership in the Pacific's clean energy transition.
This project will improve the gender-responsiveness of energy policy, enhance employment opportunities for women in clean energy, and improve the knowledge and skills of women to increase their participation in the clean energy value chain.
It gives me great pleasure to be able to officially mark the commencement of this next phase of work on women in clean energy and continued collaboration with US Government to improve climate resilience and energy security the Blue Pacific.
The U.S. State Department recently awarded the Pacific Community (SPC) Georesources and Energy division a USD 1.5 million Grant to support implementation of the Pacific Community's (SPC) Pacific Energy and Gender Strategic Action Plan (PEGSAP), which seeks to promote women's climate and clean energy leadership and economic security by increasing career and income generating opportunities for women and girls in 22 Pacific Island Countries and Territories, including by supporting pilot projects promote women-owned businesses in the sale, distribution, and maintenance of renewable energy systems, and scholarships for women and girls to pursue studies in relevant science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The grant signing ceremony will be held at the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, at 2 pm. The event will begin with U.S. Embassy CDA John Degory welcoming guests and introducing AA/S Littlejohn, who will then provide brief remarks (3 - 5 minutes). DDG Vivili will then be invited to provide brief remarks. Afterwards, AA/S Littlejohn and DDG Vivili will sign the ceremonial grant document, followed by refreshments and informal discussions between participants. We will be inviting media to cover the event.
The event will include approximately 45 participants, including representatives from SPC-GEM division, PEGSAP steering Committee, SPC strategic Lead for Women and Girls, World Bank, Energy Fiji Limited, University of the South Pacific, Fiji National University, IRENA, Students and Women in STEM
Please find a link to AA/S Littlejohn's biography here.