Tuvalu at the United Nations

Tuvalu Statement
at the Commission on the Status of Women High Level Meeting
The Honourable Kokea Malua
Member of Parliament
and Special Envoy of the Minister of Women
New York, 3 March 2006

Madam Chair
Distinguished delegates

I, on behalf of the Government, the women and their families and people of Tuvalu, wish to congratulate the Commission on the Status of Women on its 50th Anniversary. I convey Tuvalu’s sincere thanks for the support it has received through the Commission’s work.

I also wish to align this statement with the statement to be delivered by Papua New Guinea on behalf of the Pacific Islands Group of Missions. Tuvalu commends the Commission for its work, and welcomes the focus of this Session on gender equality as core to poverty elimination and sustainable development.

As a closely knit society, Tuvalu fully supports the role of women. Our traditions and culture recognize the importance of women’s role in all aspects of development.

On its part, the commitment of the Tuvalu Government to women has been unrelenting. In partnership with NGO’s, and our regional bodies, the Government is fully committed to CEDAW, the Beijing POA, and the CRC and other relevant instruments. But we need help in reporting, and integrating these into national policies.

The Government has established the Department of Women Affairs which works with NGOs such as the Tuvalu National Council of Women. A National Women’s Policy has been reformulated with focus on gender equality. The Policy is an integral part of the Tuvalu National Sustainable Development Strategies, Te Kakeenga, launched here in the United Nations during the World Leaders Summit last year.

This commitment, however, is challenged by the many constraints common in small island developing States (SIDS) as recognized under the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation for the SIDS. Effective integration and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy in all programmes for women including in the work of this Commission, therefore, is crucial for linkages and coordination.

Madam Chair - An issue of particular concern to Tuvalu is the uncertainty of Tuvalu’s future because of climate change. The issue is serious, and time is running out for our children. Tuvalu again seeks the attention and help of the world that unless climate change is urgently addressed through concrete adaptation and mitigation, all efforts of gender development and the survival of our people along with our fundamental human rights to live in Tuvalu will be seriously compromised. We appeal for appropriate actions by this body on this issue.

Madam Chair, Tuvalu is happy that more women are in wage employment, and have access to micro credit schemes particularly in rural areas. But more is needed to expand micro credit schemes, and to train women in business management and investment.

In regards to education, while there is universal access to primary education, a great need exists to provide for better vocational education, and most important, to improve the quality of education at all levels. Education continues to be our top national priority.

In terms of women’s health, Tuvaluan women have full access to professional maternal care services, and infant mortality rate has decreased significantly. But similar to other developing nations, we are confronted with the increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS, and non communicable diseases. Tuvalu needs help to urgently address these health issues.

Women’s representation needs to be improved, and fundamental to this is appropriate education and training at all levels for confidence building. Government has also developed a Social Development Policy with proper mechanisms to ensure quality services to all people.

Madam Chair, as may be noted while progress is being made, there are also urgent challenges, the addressing of which will be dependent on the collective support of the international community. In addition to the other development partners, the very responsible contribution of the Republic of China on Taiwan to international development and their experience in women development is crucial and should be recognized. Tuvalu fully supports the participation of the ROC in the Commission’s work.

Finally, Madam Chair, Tuvalu strongly feels there is an urgent need to locate a fulltime presence of the UN in Tuvalu and other Pacific island States. Given our remoteness and capacity, and particularly in view of our lagging behind on the MDGs and gender integration, such a move is imperative, and we seek the support of this Commission.

Thank you.


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