Beck is Pacific’s rep at UN Women - Solomon Star News


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Beck is Pacific’s rep at UN Women

19 June 2014

SOLOMON Islands is the only Pacific country represented on the United Nations Women Executive Board.

Its representative is Helen Beck, the Counsellor at the Solomon Islands Mission in New York.
Sharing her experiences with civil society organisations including women and youth groups from around the region at a meeting in Nadi last week, Mrs Beck said Solomon Islands decided to be part of the UN Women executive board because of the many gender challenges that exist in the Pacific Island nation.
“Statistics showing an alarming rate of violence against women (VAW) prompted us to stack reality to address the national phenomena, affecting half of our population made up of women,” she said.

“We had to look for lessons from others both within our own region and globally. This prompted us to join the Executive Board of UN Women, whose role deals with gender in all its dimensions,” Mrs Beck added.

At the national level, Mrs Beck said Solomon Islands was addressing violence against women through a gender policy and working within the government machinery such as the police, legal justice system, communities and faith based organisations to work with perpetrators and survivors of violence against women.

“I draw particular strength from the words used in the launching of the policy on “Violence against Women. 

“This government has chosen to begin to address that form of violence so that our children will experience less of it in order that our grandchildren might see none of it,” Mrs Beck said.

Apart from Solomon Islands elevation to the UN Women Executive Board, the Pacific nation is also Vice President of the current 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Mrs Beck said Pacific Island Developing States (PSIDs) have adequately represented the interests of the Pacific in the UN global agenda.

“In particular issues important to our region, such as sustainable development, climate change, oceans, gender equality and empowerment of women, economic development growth, financing for development, health, education, peace and security among others.

The Pacific SIDS was created to advance national priorities as a group and a platform to speak with one voice within the Pacific Way.

“We are however mindful of our limited capacity and resources. It also provides a platform for PSIDS candidates to take up global responsibilities in influencing global norm setting that is inclusive of a PSIDS perspective on the global agenda within the UN process through Asian and Pacific Regional Group.

“We work within the group to support each other as a collective voice of representation and to keep each other informed on areas of interest to the group under the UN Agenda,” Mrs Beck explained.

She said PSIDS have made some impact on bringing visibility on issues that affect the Pacific region.

Currently, Nauru, Palau and Papua New Guinea represent PSIDS on the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Papua New Guinea is a co-chair in the global discussion on the post 2015 Development Agenda process.

The small island nation of Nauru is chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) as well as lead negotiator on behalf of the G77 and China on climate change and the SIDS conference outcome.

Fiji, after its one year chairmanship of the powerful UN lobby group, the G77 and China is now on the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) while PNG serves on the UNICEF Board.

Tuvalu is on the Least Developed Country (LDC) Bureau and Samoa is representing PSIDS on the Green Climate Fund.
These are major achievements for Pacific SIDS at the United Nations in New York that Pacific countries must use to advocate for our special issues, said Beck.
The 12 Pacific SIDS represented at the United Nations are  Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.