Building a strong women's movement to fight gender-based violence and the climate crisis in Vanuatu

A Vanuatu women speaking on the hill overlooking Vila Bay.
December 24, 2023

Spotlight Initiative participated in a series of events exploring the links between climate change and gender-based violence at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.

The largest event was a talk show-style discussion, 'Climate change and violence against women: Zero degrees of separation'.

Seven women panelists at the event, Ms Flora Vano from Vanuatu on the right.
Panellists at Spotlight Initiative-organized COP28 event, 'Climate change and violence against women: Zero degrees of separation,' on 4 December 2023 in Dubai. From Left to right: Sara Pereira, Dr. Meghna Ranganathan, Casey Camp-Horinek, Hira Amjad, Jaha Dukureh, Sinéad Bovell and Flora Vano. Credit: Spotlight Initiative/Koye Adeboye.

Flora Vano, Programme Manager of ActionAid Vanuatu, a Spotlight Initiative partner, was among other panelists in the discussion. Ms Vano shed light on how the climate crisis impacts her community putting women at higher risk of violence, and how women and vulnerable groups are finding solutions. 

"Economic empowerment for women is critical. When they have their own income, they can put food on the table, and negotiate with their partners," said Ms Vano.

"We are already on the pathway, building a women's movement, providing them with what violence-free society looks like and supporting them with the economic hubs." - Flora Vano, ActionAid Vanuatu

Following the event, Spotlight Initiative held a press conference to launch a new publication that illustrates how climate change practitioners can integrate gender-based violence prevention into climate action. 

In the report, the Vanuatu Spotlight Initiative demonstrated good practice at the policy level working in coordination with the Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation and the National Disaster Management Office to develop a standard operating procedure for gender-based violence in emergencies.

Also highlighted in the report, Vanuatu Spotlight Initiative fostered whole-of-society advocacy, partnering with local civil society organizations to support 400 women market vendors with training on food safety and financial literacy to help them supplement their income following a tropical cyclone in 2020.

Read more about Vanuatu Spotlight Initiative's work on climate change and gender-based violence: 'In Vanuatu, women lead climate change resilience efforts'

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