The European Union and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat have signed a Financing Agreement to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and violence against women and girls in the Pacific.
The more than US$15 million agreement was signed in Apia by European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs and the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor
The program will support activities at the regional level as well as in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Ambassador Jacobs said Pacific leaders have acknowledged that gender inequality is imposing a high personal, social and economic cost - and the time to act is now.
He stressed that all must work to enhance awareness and practice of respectful relationships, ensure equal opportunities in life for women, men, girls and boys, and increase access to relevant services for women and girls who have suffered violence.
The fund will be implemented over six years by UN Women, the PIF Secretariat and the Pacific Community. The Australian Government will co-fund the UN Women component of the project.
Australia would also provide an additional US$5.97 million to the program, which would further strengthen the EU-Australia cooperation to support Pacific responses to gender inequality in the region.