Empowering women and making gender equality a reality is a core commitment of UNDP. In every country across the Pacific, pervasive gender inequality remains a barrier to progress, justice and social stability. It also hinders the achievement of development goals. We recognize that women’s empowerment and gender equality are cross-cutting issues that lie at the heart of human development.



were elected as Members of Parliament for the Solomon Islands 2020 National Elections. It is the highest number even in its law-making body.



and 10,033 women in the region were given access to sustainably managed natural resources and ecosystem services.



and 13,904 men in Vanuatu and Tuvalu are less vulnerable and more resilient due to UNDP interventions, including through support for policy instruments for energy in Vanuatu.


We support regional and national efforts to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment. We are committed to strengthening the capacity of our national partners in the Pacific to adopt approaches that advance women’s rights and take full account of the many ways women contribute to development. We strive to ensure that women have increased economic control, strengthened political voice and enhanced legal rights.


Fiji farmers

Photo: UNCDF


In depth


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development envisions a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality and all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Gender equality is reflected in 45 targets and 54 gender-specific indicators of the SDGs. Achieving these targets and closing the gender gaps will therefore create a multiplier effect across all of the SDGs and accelerate their achievement.

With the largest operational platform within the UN system, working on the ground in some 170 countries and territories, our work and expertise are central to achieving the SDGs. This unique position has prompted UNDP to adopt the Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021, which commits the organization to intensify its efforts to mainstream gender equality across all of its areas of work. 

Our role

  1. Removing structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment, including unpaid work
    Our work focuses on approaches that transform legal, policy and social norms to create a sustainable impact on women’s economic empowerment. This requires investing more in gender-responsive infrastructure, implementing policies that support equal redistribution of unpaid care and domestic work, equal access to assets and land and other such approaches.
  2. Preventing and responding to gender-based violence
    We works closely with governments and national and local institutions to address gender-based violence (GBV), one of the major impediments to both gender equality and sustainable development. In particular, UNDP supports efforts to ensure justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in crises and non-crises contexts by improving the skills and knowledge of police officers, judges, prosecutors, court administrators and military and religious leaders. 
  3. Promoting women’s participation and leadership in all forms of decision-making
    Our work focuses on increasing women’s participation and leadership in a broad range of institutions, including parliaments, political parties, public administration, judiciary and the private sector. We also works to address structural barriers to women’s leadership through support of gender equality laws and quotas and aims to strengthen women’s empowerment and leadership in the workplace through the Gender Equality Seal for Private and Public Enterprises.
  4. Strengthening gender-responsive strategies in crisis (conflict and disaster) prevention, preparedness and recovery
    We work to improve integration of gender equality issues in conflict prevention, disaster preparedness and crises response, and advance the women’s peace and security agenda.


Key Messages

  • All people in the Pacific, leaving no place behind, are equal and free to exercise their fundamental rights, enjoying gender equality and peace, resilient to the existential threats and living in harmony with the blue continent.
  • The establishment of Tonga’s Gender and Social Inclusion Strategy to address gender-based violence as a development issue signifies the country’s commitment in advancing gender equality in its development work. It also shows UNDP and Tonga’s commitment and strength in relation and partnership to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
  • As gains in women’s rights remain fragile, it is essential to collect gender-sensitive data for improvement of services and programs with a gender-transformative approach. Timely and reliable estimates on violence against women and girls or gender-disaggregated data on the impact of climate change contribute to improved understanding and help track progress.
  • Through the pledge to Leave No One Behind, countries have committed to fast-track progress for those furthest behind first. That is why the SDGs are designed to bring the world to several life-changing ‘zeros’, including discrimination against women and girls.
  • Gender equality is a key factor for sustainable growth, social development, and environmental sustainability. By providing the same opportunities to women and men and ensuring that no one is left behind, a sustainable and inclusive path of development can be achieved.
Effective Governance
  • UNDP continues to partner with all key stakeholders to improve, sharpen and finalize recommendations on how best to support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in remote locations under the Fiji Police Force Support Project.
  • Violence against women and children, whether it is intimate partner violence or sexual violence in broader societal settings, is a violation of human rights. UNDP supports Fiji Police Force and other justice stakeholders to improve availability, accessibility, responsiveness and quality of services provided to survivors.
  • In the Pacific, gender-based violence is reported at near epidemic levels, and the percentage of women in Kiribati, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu who have reported experiences of sexual violence in their life is reported as averaged between 60% and 70%.
  • Through the establishment of values such as non-discrimination and teamwork, sports can be used as a tool to achieve gender equality. Sports can increase opportunities for women and girls to develop new skills, gain support and be empowered to enjoy freedom of expression and movement.
  • Justice for women is one of the primary accelerators for achieving the 2030 Agenda. Not only does investing in justice for women help achieve gender equality and advance women’s empowerment, but it also creates a foundation for long-term growth and peaceful and inclusive societies.
  • Women's access to justice is an important pillar for peace, security, and prosperity. It empowers women to protect themselves from violence and discrimination as well as equips them with tools they need to solve conflict peacefully.
  • UNDP recognizes efforts made by women police officers to advance gender equality within the institution and in society, for a world free of stereotypes and discrimination. Their contribution is significant to advancing Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 16 to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
Inclusive Growth 
  • Gender equality is a matter of human rights, a driver of development progress and UNDP strongly emphasizes and promotes gender equality as smart economics.
  • UNDP is aware of the deep-seated gender issues in the Pacific such as men outnumbering women in paid employment (outside the agricultural sector) by approximately 2:1, and men earning 20% – 50% more than women. UNDP is strongly committed to supporting women and girls to access opportunities and resources to reach their full potential.
  • UNDP remains committed to be at the forefront of efforts to promote the empowerment of women and girls through Pacific programmes. And through partnerships, UNDP catalyzes additional public and private investment to gender equality.
  • Economic empowerment is an integral part of our strategy for larger gender equality as it will empower women to exercise their voice and influence, and even allow them to counter gender-based violence, which is prevalent in the Pacific.
  • The Markets for Change project promotes gender equality through the economic empowerment of women market vendors in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It brings together governments, market vendors and market vendor associations, civil society organizations and UN agencies.
Resilience and Sustainable Development
  • UNDP works to strengthen gender sensitive disaster communication and climate monitoring systems. It is vital to enhance gender sensitive national and state disaster responder’s readiness capacity and enhance community disaster resilience through integrated gender and social inclusion awareness.
  • When it comes to gender inequality, like the case of COVID-19, climate crisis is amplifying gender disparities and reducing protective factors that work to prevent violence against women and girls. In UNDP’s work to fight gender-based violence, the international community, governments, and civil society must begin to move at the intersection of gender and climate justice in the Pacific.
  • To inform inclusive actions, we need more gender-disaggregated data for the Pacific, to ensure the most marginalized groups are put at the core of the UNDP project goals. Otherwise, their realities and specific needs are likely to remain invisible, as it often happens with violence against women and girls.
  • We are called to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, to ensure we leave for future generations a society where people can enjoy human rights and participate and contribute to an inclusive development agenda.
  • The Pacific region is facing a whole crisis with COVID-19 and climate change. Going forward, we must be aware of the intricate interconnections between gender-based violence and crisis.


News centre