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While this study has illustrated the situation in the Pacific at the macro level, assumptions and generalisations have been made based on the three case studies and policies and projects that were available at the time of writing. It must be recognised that while there are very clear conclusions that relate to the region as a whole, there are significant variations between the fourteen Pacific countries. In order for the recommendations below to be most useful, the research would benefit from similar analysis being undertaken at the national, or even subnational level in order to identify priority actions that are more specific to the country or community context.


The findings of this paper emphasise that the concept of gender equality is still embryonic in climate change adaptation in the Pacific Islands. While recognised in theory (i.e. policy and project design), it is not often well supported by action and practice, nor well measured and monitored.

The study observed a notable lack of mainstreaming of gender in national policies, and therefore most likely a lacking general awareness of the linkage between gender equality, climate change and DRR in the Pacific. Despite overwhelming evidence that climate change and disasters disproportionately affect women, gender equality is not often well integrated into climate change policy, nor climate change into gender policy. Where climate change and gender equality are well mainstreamed into national policy, corresponding institutional frameworks that are well-resourced, coordinated and informed are required, along with adequate technical capacity within government agencies, NGOs and project teams, in order to achieve this in practice. At all levels and in all countries, SADD related to climate change, natural disasters and sustainable development were found to be non-existent or limited, which constrains proper assessment to inform and improve policies, project design, risk assessments and programming, and ongoing measurement of progress.

Through case studies and success stories, this study identified clear recommendations for improving gender equality in climate change adaptation, as outlined below:

  • (1) National climate change and disaster management policy should clearly recognise gender principles and the importance of an inclusive and consultative approach. Likewise, Pacific gender equality policies should recognise climate change as not only a significant risk to women and their livelihoods, but also as an opportunity to empower women and achieve gender equality.
  • (2) Strengthened collaboration and positive relations between government and NGOs are important to effectively embed gender analysis into climate change policies, laws and projects. This may be achieved by leveraging active networks on outer islands (e.g. women’s councils in villages) to ensure remote communities are represented and engaged in national dialogue on climate change and DRR and to enhance the gender responsiveness of national climate change projects.
  • (3) Networks or communities of practice will be effective for sharing knowledge, advising and raising awareness of the need for gender responsive climate change action. Such networks should engage a wide range of stakeholders to inform planning and develop consistent messaging about gender equality and climate change.
  • (4) Gender equality outcomes must be included in CCA assessment criteria to ensure gender analysis is integrated into the design of all climate change policies, plans and projects. Adequate resourcing and specific gender indicators for monitoring throughout project implementation should be conditional for project approval, to ensure grant recipients monitor, evaluate and report how their projects contribute towards gender equality outcomes. This in turn may be shared with stakeholders through a community of practice (refer (3)).
  • (5) Women’s involvement is not only essential during consultation. Participation of women in climate change processes and dialogue needs to be further strengthened towards active engagement and leadership.

It is clear that participation and skills of women and girls will lead to more effective, and much needed, climate change adaptation in the Pacific. The recommendations above aim to improve gender equality through adaptation to climate change, and therefore, sustainable development overall. Underlying social norms and institutional constraints will continue to hamper the Pacific Islands’ progress towards fully achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in CCA, but the best practice examples identified through this study are evidence that these challenges can be overcome.

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