On International Women’s Day (IWD) 8 March 2022

achamila press- H. E. Ambassador Emmanuel Amara Vandi Fomba

On International Women’s Day (IWD) 8 March 2022, the women and all the staff at the Government and citizens of the Kingdom of New Atlantis are delighted to join the rest of the world to commemorate this momentous occasion

It’s a chance to reflect on the achievements of women across the board, measure the progress made in terms of gender equality and most importantly plan concrete steps for a better and brighter future; not just for women but also for everyone. We say this because gender equality is community empowerment and it is something that should not only be emphasised and highlighted on IWD, it should be for the other 364 days of the year. We commemorate this great occasion amidst so much uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and global challenges before us. In the KingdomofNewAtlantis, these challenges are magnified by the adverse impact of climate change on our governments, communities, districts, villages and families. It is fitting therefore that the international theme for IWD 2022 is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” It is a call for climate action for women, by women.
At KONA, we are immensely proud of the tremendous work that has been done and continues to be done by all the women, who have dedicated their lives to serve their countries, regions and the rest of the world in different capacities as a country. Gender equality is at the heart of what we do as a Government because we believe in women and their abilities to drive and influence change for a better environment. From our Senior Leadership Team all the way through our programmes, Ministries and departments, women occupy many key roles not because of a gender quota that needs to be filled but they are there based on what they bring to the table and their ability to get the job done. We believe in the power of women to influence and drive change.
The women who occupy all the roles, including key decision making positions at KONA, are there not because of a quota but because they have what it takes to get the job done and make a difference to our country.
From the lens of climate change and the work we do in KONA, we are pleased to note that the focus of International Women’s Day recognises the vital link between gender, social equity and climate change. . The theme of the International Women’s Day 2022 is a spotlight moment for women and climate change.  Ladies and gentlemen, climate change does not discriminate. It affects everyone and everything; it’s a reality we know so well in the world. And just as there are differing degrees in which small islands are impacted by climate change, so too is the degree of impact on women and girls.
Tgere is a great need to seek and understand the intricacies and nuances for developing and navigating a pathway, which enhances and focuses a spotlight on the gender imperative for greater visibility and inclusion within the mainstream debate on climate change. Our talanoa echoed sentiments on the steps taken so far, and further steps required to ensure the issue of climate change and gender is mainstreamed and streamlined in our planning and policy processes at national, sub-national and community levels. In acknowledging that such steps have been taken throughout our Asia and Africa countries, we also recognise that more work is required to ensure that actions for enhancing the gender imperative within the global context through international policy instruments such as the United Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange (UNFCCC), and its mechanisms, are mainstreamed across all climate relative instruments. There are many intricacies and nuances requiring thorough and in-depth understanding within the UNFCCC process, and only when equipped with such an understanding can we progress solid positions on Mitigation, Adaptation, Loss and Damage, Finance, Oceans, and Climate Security. To which end I strongly believe that our instincts can be viewed as our initial steps for delivering and enhancing knowledge and understanding.
Today, I want to reiterate how critically important Advocacy and Engagement is for enhancing our Global voice on climate change, with the inclusion of climate change impacts on women in and around the world. The 66th Installment of the Commission on the Status of Women will convene in March with COP27 scheduled for November. Both platforms offer up the opportunity for conveying and amplifying our Global voice on the continued impacts and adverse effects of climate change on our country and our people. But we must profess with great emphasis the disproportion of such impacts on our country but rally behind and place in the foreground its disproportion on women and girls.
Let me again state very clearly that without gender equality, a sustainable future, an equal future, will only be a dream. Since the world has recognised that women and girls bear the burden of climate impacts, we must recognise that they are also essential to leading and driving change in climate adaption, mitigation and solutions. Increasing opportunities for women makes good sense, as sustainable development in the Pacific will not be achieved unless women are fully involved in all aspects of the management and protection of our Pacific environment.
Happy International Women’s Day 2022!!!

H. E. Ambassador Emmanuel Amara Vandi Fomba
Ambassador representative for West Africa Region

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