The European Union has signed an agreement with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat allocating more than NZD$29 million to tackle the root cause of gender inequality and violence against women in the Pacific region.
The agreement was signed this week in Samoa as part of the 48th Pacific Islands Leaders Forum.
Pierre Amilhat and Dame Meg Taylor signing the financial agreement. Photo/ PRN.
Pierre Amilhat from the EU's Department for International Cooperation and Development says they're committed to ending violence against women in the Pacific.
"The EU is not only championing gender equality in the Pacific but in other parts of the world," he says. "There is no amount of money that will ever be able to bring the issue of violence against women and girls to an end."
Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, says the assistance is timely and the funding recognises high levels of violence in the region.
"This issue is dear to every person, particularly to women and particularly for our young girls. We must be involved to ensure that they have a secure and happy future."
She says violence against women is complex and multi-dimensional in the Pacific region and that it’ll require a combined effort from all sectors.
Director General of the Pacific Community (SPC), Dr. Colin Tukuitonga, welcomes the new initiative and says it will assist and enhance programmes already in place.
"Equality in our region, ending violence against women is deeply entrenched," he says. "I see this as additional support for what is truly one of our biggest challenges in the region."