In his message during the International Women’s Day which was celebrated worldwide during the weekend (Saturday), Mr Sheppard said sustainable development in the Pacific will not be achieved unless women are fully involved.
“Today (Saturday), we celebrate International Women’s Day for 2014. The special day which commemorates women and their efforts around the world first began in 1911.
“As well as celebrating the economic, social and political achievements of women, International Women’s Day is also a time to focus world attention on areas requiring further action.
“The theme for 2014 – ‘inspiring change’ – encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way.
“This provides a good opportunity to celebrate the role of women in Pacific societies.
“Here at SPREP, we are proud to be able to celebrate the many different ways that women in the Pacific have helped to inspire change for a better environment.
“Increasing opportunities for women makes good sense for us at SPREP as sustainable development in the Pacific will not be achieved unless women are fully involved in all aspects of the management and protection of our Pacific environment.”
The director general said earlier this year, staff at SPREP nominated over 40 women from the Pacific Islands region to be celebrated in their special publication.
“We sent out a request to all seeking further information so we could celebrate their work, together with you.
“We would like to thank all the women who responded to our request, taking the time to fill out the profile questions and above all thank all women in the Pacific for their contributions to inspiring change for a better environment.
“Much has been achieved in terms of women’s rights and empowerment. A growing number of countries have policies and legislation that support gender equality and reproductive health.
“Women are also now more likely to participate in senior positions in government. However there is still much that should and must be done to ensure the effective participation of women in Pacific societies.
“So today on the occasion of 2014 International Women’s Day let us all reflect – with appreciation – on the role of women in the Pacific and at SPREP.”
The Solomon Islands woman featured in SPREP’s publication was Agnetha Karamu, who is the chief conservation officer at the Ministry of Environment .
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) director general David Sheppard says more oportunities for women is good for SPREP.