For the first time since 2020, the Government of Papua New Guinea hosted the National United For Equality Summit to address gender inequality and lack of women’s empowerment in the country.
UNDP empowers women leaders at the 2nd National United For Equality Summit in Port Moresby
November 29, 2023
Over 400 government officials, private sector representatives and civil society leaders from around Papua New Guinea participated in the summit held at the APEC Haus in Port Moresby on 27-28 November 2023. Throughout the two-day summit, the participants engaged in various interactive sessions to seek solutions to the economic, cultural, educational, legal, and health challenges faced by Papua New Guinean women.
“Ever since our country gained Independence, we have not realized half of the potential of our country. We have been walking with one foot, seeing with one eye, and hearing with one ear. It has always been his story, and never her story. This is why this summit is so crucial for us,” the Governor of the National Capital District and Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment of the Papua New Guinean Parliament, Hon. Powes Parkop stated in his opening speech at the summit.
The summit also commemorated the closing of the European Union-funded UN Spotlight Initiative, of which UNDP has been one of the implementing agencies since 2020. As part of its activities under the initiative, UNDP has supported 21 provincial governments around the country in drafting their provincial gender-based violence prevention and response strategies. The draft strategies were presented to the public for the first time at the summit.
“In a country as diverse as Papua New Guinea, having in place provincial GBV strategies that reflect the dynamics, culture, and challenges of each province is particularly crucial. These strategies will be at the heart of efforts to eliminate gender-based violence in throughout the country in the coming years and UNDP is committed to supporting provincial governments in bringing them to life,” UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Nicholas Booth stated while presenting the strategies.
In another landmark moment for UNDP, the summit saw the signing of a joint declaration on gender equality and women’s empowerment by the Joint Parliamentary Women’s Caucus of Papua New Guinea, which consists of female members of the Papua New Guinean Parliament and the House of Representatives of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The declaration was the outcome of the Women in Leadership Retreat, which UNDP co-hosted for members of the Joint Parliamentary Women’s Caucus and other women leaders from different sectors in Papua New Guinea earlier this November.
The declaration calls for the implementation of a series of initiatives, institutions, bills, and amendments to enhance electoral integrity and women's political participation in Papua New Guinea, including the introduction of temporary special measures to increase the number of women in Parliament.
In a signing ceremony held during the summit, the Governor of Central Province, Hon. Rufina Peter, MP and the Deputy Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives, Hon. Theresa Kaetavara served as the first signatories of the declaration. “Through our collective endeavours, we will tirelessly work towards a society where women and girls can flourish, contribute, and lead without encountering barriers or discrimination. Together, we can shape a brighter and more equitable future for all,” the two leaders jointly declared.