Posted at 23:09 on 19 October, 2012 UTC
The Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Puna has launched the first ever Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
At the launch ceremony in Suva, Fiji, Mr Puna said in the short history of the Pacific region, women and girls have suffered as victims of armed conflicts and social unrest.
But he added the women of the Pacific are not alone in these situations.
He said women and girls around the world have and continue to be disproportionately affected in times of armed conflict.
But he said women continue to play leadership roles and become strong forces in building peace.
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade also spoke at the launch.
He said the focus of the plan is on utilising and enhancing the inherent capabilities of women as peace builders, including at state institution levels, and to provide a secure and conflict free environment.
Mr Slade added two of the three focal areas of this plan will seek to increase the visibility and active participation of women in conflict prevention and peace building activities, including by increasing women’s engagement with and in security sectors.
He added the third focal area seeks to ensure the necessary frameworks of protection for women and girls during humanitarian crises and transitional and post conflict situations.
Mr Slade said this last focal area is necessary because we know that in times of crises and conflicts, the vulnerabilities of women and children are exacerbated.
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