Fiji Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu

Integrating gender into adapation and low carbon development in small island states

The objective of GenderCC's project "Gender in Adaptation and Low Carbon Development" was to promote gender sensitive approaches in adaptation and low carbon development in two highly vulnerable countries/regions.

Climate change affects different regions, generations, income groups and genders differently. Developing countries, such as Bangladesh and the Pacific Region have already been highly affected. Poor people, a disproportionate amount of which are female, are particularly vulnerable, and at the same time key actors. All too often, gender issues have been neglected so far in local and national climate policy-making. Women and communities have their own visions and knowledge on how to build and strengthen their resilience to climate change. And such visions are tied to the broader realities of power relationships that are informed by class, gender, ethnicity and citizenship.

GenderCC's project was an effort to realise such visions through a joint project with its partners, the Center for Global Change in Bangladesh (CGC), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Fiji Island. The project was carried out in the years 2010 to 2014.

The partners promoted gender sensitive approaches in adaptation and low carbon development projects and policies through awareness raising, training and dissemination of information. They developed capacity building and train-the-trainer programmes and worked with a broad variety of stakeholder and local communities.

The partner have also worked to integrate gender into national climate policy. This involved lobbying and sensitisation events with policy-makers, including Members of Parliaments and Ministers, meetings with government officials at different tiers, capacity building of government officials, non-government professionals, addressing media, sensitising local government and local people, and organising events with civil society organisations.

Moreover, GenderCC has set up a Global Learning Platform as an interactive tool to disseminate the results of these pilots and facilitate joint learning and exchange on gender and climate policy between climate change practitioners. It is open to anybody interested in gender and climate change, allowing participants to share knowledge and experiences, as well as collaborate on the development of gender-sensitive adaptation and mitigation actions, training concepts and tools. Participants can contribute by providing documents, data, best practices and links. GenderCC is planning to expand the platform to include e-learning modules on gender and climate change. Please find the platform here:

The project has been extraordinarily rich in generating learning materials, many of which have broken new ground in Gender and Climate Change theory and policy work. These reach across a broad spectrum, from articles and interviews for popular media, to manuals for implementation, and sophisticated academic work.

Please find some key outcomes of the project in the download box on the right.


Gender in Adaptation and Low Carbon Development in the Pacific Islands

The need for women to be actively involved in the implementation of energy security initiatives has been acknowledged at the regional level and is reflected in the Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific. The framework also provided a basis for implementing the Gender in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Pacific (Gender CC) Project at SPC.

Low carbon development is a new concept which has not been well defined in the Pacific context. However, it is an important factor in promoting energy security, where efforts are geared towards ensuring that all people at all times have access to sufficient sustainable sources of clean and affordable energy and services to enhance their social and economic well-being.


Small island states approach

The approaches to energy security and low carbon development in Small Island States differ, depending on each islands’ current energy situation.Table 1.1 provides some basic information on the current energy situation in the eight countries. While Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue and Tuvalu have provided modern energy or electricity, to all their populations, there is a need to explore ways to reduce their dependency on imported fossil fuel so as to ensure sustainability and economic benefits for their communities.  The main crux of reducing dependency is to allow governments and utilities to provide electricity at affordable prices. In order to reduce fossil fuel use for electricity generation, a vigorous awareness-raising on energy efficiency and conservation measures is required. This could reduce overall electricity use by 10%.

Pacific counries

Carbon footprint (tons CO2)2

Electrification rate: Population connected to electricity grid %)

Rural households with access to basic electrification (%)

Cook Islands




























Solomon Islands




Table 1.1 Small Island States carbon footprint and access to energy indicators

In contrast, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands still need to improve their access to modern energy either through diesel generator or solar PV connections to the rural and outer islands. However, this depends on factors such as fuel supply security. For instance Kiribati can store only its petroleum supply that meets the current demand for 25 days, and therefore additional demand for petrolum is not feasbile. These countries have to make choices. Plans to increase their use of imported fossil fuel to improve economic growth and development, must take into account the level of development and future energy consumption, and whether solar and biomass/biofuel could meet these future demands.

The appropriate and feasible energy sources in most of these countries are mainly solar energy and biofuel (using coconut oil, but energy assessments on biofuel are required). Tuvalu, for example has had good experience and benefits from its solar photovoltaic grid systems connected to its diesel power generation. Countries are also mindful of the safety and technical issues that may arise from large solar grid connections, and power utilities. They are working together with relevant stakeholders to establish policies and guidelines for effective and safe measures on grid connected solar PV systems.

Energy efficiency (EE) is an important approach to consider and it is widely acknowledged that gender considerations are vital in this area. Women are recognised as the main users of household electric appliances. Through their organised networks, women can greatly contribute to promoting energy conservation practices at home and also start to create awareness among their family members.


The contribution of Small Island Developing States to global greenhouse gas emission is small and evidently their contribution to help maintain global emissions under the 450ppm CO2 equivalent threshold is not that relevant. However, their choices on low carbon development initiatives should link to the economic and sustainable development of their countries.

Below are proposed/recommended approaches in improving energy security in the small island developing states:
• energy efficiency and conservation from the demand side
• reducing losses in transmission and distribution from the supply side
• deployment of renewable energy technologies, mainly solar, wind and bio-fuel
• engagement in relevant international carbon market mechanisms
• promotion of  private sector participation in renewable energy technologies (RETS) and EE
• development of financing mechanisms to promote the uptake of RETS
• improvement and optimisation of fuel supply and storage.

For more information, please contact: Kuini Rabo (kuinir (at) and Koin Etuati (koine (at), Energy Programme, Economic Development Division, SPC

1 Cost of fossil fuel is being subsidized by Government in most countries.
2 Tracks only the total GHG emissions using embedded carbon as a measure (not UNFCCC method)

Gender in Adaptation and Low Carbon Development

The objective of the project titled Gender in Adaptation and Low Carbon Development is to promote gender sensitive approaches in adaptation and energy projects and policies through awareness raising, training and dissemination of information.

The project received funding support from the International Climate Initiatives of the German Ministry of Environment and Nuclear Safety (BMU) to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (regional organisation) through the GenderCC Network – Women for Climate Justice which is based in the Netherlands.

Training on gender mainstreaming has been convened in 3 Pacific Island Countries namely, Fiji islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu. The trainings were convened for different target groups but with similar objectives which is promoting gender and cultural issues in climate change adaptation and low carbon development. There is still no accepted definition of low carbon development however as discussed during the training in Fiji, low carbon development in the pacific should include women’s public health and also link to the definitions of an ‘environment friendly’ energy solutions stated in the Regional Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific (FAESP) which is “to adopt strategies that minimize harmful effects on the environment through systematic investment in cleaner fuels, renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency and conservation.

A lot of activities have happened in the Pacific region in the first half of this year and which are related to this project and should be of interest to mention. At the regional level, a roundtable Meeting on Climate Change was convened in Niue in February this year which was organized by SPREP (South Pacific Regional Environment Programme) and attended by government delegates as well as NGOs. Ulamila from the Cook Islands and a gender activities and coordinator of the Pacific Gender Climate Coalition lobbied for gender integration. Ulamila also presented the project at a lunch side event. A trip to Niue was also organized under the project where gender and energy training was convened to the relevant stakeholders. A literature report on Niue and the capacity of the Energy as well as Environment department was done for Niue which forms baseline information on the institutions to integrate gender in environment and energy projects.

A triennial meeting of Transport, Energy and ICT ministers meeting was held in April in Noumea and the inclusion of gender should be considered in the implementation of the Framework for Energy Security in the Pacific. This high level intervention was voiced by the Prime Minister for the Cook Islands.

In July, a Women’s Ministerial Meeting was held in Nadi, Fiji, which also included a one day workshop on Gender and Climate Change. Koin Etuati, the GenderCC Coordinator attended the meeting to network and also build collaborations with the Department of Women Affairs who are the main beneficiaries of this important meeting to discuss the project and gender trainings for Tuvalu, Nauru and Cook Islands. Following this meeting a national training was organized in collaboration with the Department of Women Affairs and the Department of Energy in Tuvalu.

At the national level more emphasis is geared through the development of Climate change policies and frameworks. The Framework on Climate Change has been developed for Niue through the technical assistance of SOPAC Division of SPC and SPREP and this policy has been endorsed by Niue Government early this year while the Kiribati Framework on Climate Change is in its latest stage for Cabinet’s approval. In Tuvalu, the Climate Change Consultations was completed on 15th August and the team is currently putting together the consultations output. 

The project was able to convene training in Tuvalu on the 8 – 9th August during the time of the climate change policy consultation on Funafuti, the main island. The two days training was attended by representatives and officials of the Department of Environment and the Department of Energy and Department of Women including the coordinators from the TANGO (Tuvalu Association of NGOs) as well as the Tuvalu National Council of Women.  The training offered an understanding of the gender concepts, understanding of the need of pay more attention to the needs of those that were not usually engaged in decision making, mainly women and youth. It has also offered a better understanding of why women are not always included in decision making due to cultural issues. The outputs of the regional training held in Fiji and the national trainings held in Kiribati and Tuvalu are summarized below.

Training of trainers on gender mainstreaming in Fiji Islands

The objective of the training of trainers on gender mainstreaming is to develop and strengthen the capacities of gender, energy and climate change experts on:




  • Appropriate training methods and tools to integrate gender in policies, action plans and implementation plan, project proposals and projects implementation
  • To apply gender sensitive dimensions in the documents and reports, e. g sex disaggregated data
  • To identify entry points on gender mainstreaming in projects
  • To allow the integration of gender sensitive dimensions in the national policies, action plans and budgets

The sequential training contents included the gender mainstreaming concepts, application of knowledge on gender data, gender dimensions in climate change, gender and energy planning and Analysis tools as well as application of gender lens to critic policies and monitoring and evaluation tools. The experts were from the SPC divisions who were interested and this included colleagues from the GIZ/SPC – Coping with Climate change in the Pacific Island Countries, energy and transport advisers from the Energy and Transport Programmes as well as gender experts from various Fiji based organizations such as the Women’s Crisis Center and community based organisation and consultancy firms.

The trainers were Ms Brigitte Leduc (Gender Officer at SPC) and Ms Ana Laqeretabua ( Gender Expert and Consultant). After the presentations on the training contents the participants were given the opportunity to review the NAPAs for Samoa, Solomon and Tuvalu. There were also discussions on the institutional assessments of each organization on working on gender mainstreaming. It is hoped that from this training, the trainers are able to integrate gender into their trainings they deliver to the government and to the communities in the pacific countries, they work in. The training was delivered for 3 days through presentations, case studies from past experiences on gender mainstreaming in energy projects, group work and presentations and interactive discussions.

Training and awareness raising on climate change and women empowerment in Kiribati

A gender analysis is one of the tools that the project is currently promoting for mainstreaming gender in climate change and energy activities in the pacific region. Gender analysis looks at the strategic needs, productive interests and strategic interests of men, women and children and how their gender roles are being impacted through an intervention. The empowerment of women is important as it links with the strategic and productive interest and somehow can change the power relations between men and women at all levels, i.e at the household and community or local level.

The awareness raising to the women’s catholic organization, Teitoiningaina was carried out on the 21st June was carried out during the Annual General Assembly of where about 100 women gathered for a one week deliberations on their activities and collaborations. This awareness raising was carried out in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific project titled the EU/USP Climate Change project.  The objective of the EU/USP project is to develop a community based climate change adaptation project in Kiribati.

It is anticipated that this project will work closely with the EU/USP climate change project to integrate gender dimensions into the project inception, formulation and implementation. Two adaptation projects are being considered by the EU/SUP projects and will be finalized towards the end of this year.

The presentations were delivered in the local language. The USP Director presented on Women and Development Knowledge, while the Kiribati Continuing and Community Education Co-coordinator highlighted the different courses traditional and modern training courses that the women could apply to while Ms Koin Etuati, the Energy Assistant - Gender and Policy from SPC presented on Gender, Climate Change and Energy. The gender, climate change and gender presentation illustrated how women are perceived in a society according to their gender roles. These gender roles are linked with gender needs and interests such as practical, productive and strategic interest. It was further explained that these interests and needs are impacted by climate change differently to men and emphasis was made that women should be included in decision making processes about climate change adaptation projects and polices or on other development issues such as energy, water, disaster risk reduction, health, etc. In the afternoon, a group discussion was conducted on three issues or questions. Output of the discussions are provided in the boxes below.

Question 1: How Gender Inequality can be reduced at the village level, at island level and in Kiribati as a country?
Community Level

  • Establish and strengthen women’s group  at village level
  • Collect information and data at household level where women’s view can be collected
  • Teach boys and girls to have similar roles at the household and so both have equal share of work
  • Consultation at household level so get women views

Local Level

  • Women group annual assembly at island level
  • Representatives from women group at the island council decision making
  • Women groups get together to form consortium or communiqué which is to be integrated into the island council work plans
  • Women to be part of decision making at the maneaba ( local meeting place) thus men to change mind set and allow women to be part of decision making
  • Women should be empowered to be able to make good decisions for the development of the island, village and household
  • Women should liaise with men or husbands who represent family at decision
    making level
  • Women should be ready and show that they can lead the community mainly in church groups
  • Island councils should be gender sensitized so they can also include both men and women in job opportunities

National Level

  • Women as Board member of government statutory body
  • Promotion of gender equality policies and activities
  • Women should have access to information and news from radio, CB, internet, email, mobiles

Q2: Challenges faced by women in gaining higher education

  • Lack of financial support or money to pay for school fees and bus fares
  • Broken home
  • Evening classes may not be appropriate for women or girls
  • No support from family  such as parents or/and grandparents
  • Use of computer may hinder engagement of women to learn however, this may be offered to those who are computer literate
  • No equality between men and women on development issues
  • Culturally women should work at home therefore this culture hinders women from wanting to engage in higher education
  • Religious Beliefs
  • Cultural beliefs that women should stay at home and look after family mainly the elders and children
  • Women get married at an early age and get pregnant
  • Jealousy by husband
  • No interests and just doing their own work at home and not be part of any organized women network
  • Waste money in other activities such as Bingo
  • Cultural factors that women should stay at home and look after children
  • Church factors – time for church fundraising activities, no interests in being member of church women’s group, waste time

Q3: Reducing vulnerability to climate change impacts for women in Kiribati

  • Improving livelihoods through traditional knowledge such as weaving and handicraft, however impact of climate change such as sea level rise and prolonged drought impact indigenous trees used for weaving,
  • Family planning may be important to reduce population growth mainly for South Tarawa
  • Environmental education to school children and youth at schools and at homes
  • Solar energy for studying at night for children and radio programmes in the outer islands
  • Policy and education on waste recycling mainly plastics
  • Limit coral destruction and aggregate mining
  • Build seawalls where coastal area is being eroded
  • Plant mangrove trees

Gender training in climate change policy and project in Tuvalu

The gender training was convened on the 8 – 9th August in Tuvalu and this was organized through the Department of Energy in collaboration with the Department of Women. The main target groups were the Department of Environment mainly those who attended the COP meetings. The training was timely as the Department of Environment was currently doing a nationwide consultation on the formulation of its Climate Change Policy. These village consultations are carried out in the evenings.

The presentations were on the gender concepts and why gender is important in the planning and implementation of the policies and projects. There were quite a lot of skeptics and misunderstanding on the concept of gender prior to the workshop but during the workshop and with the assistance from the Department of Women Gender Experts, there were good discussions leading to the outputs of the workshop.

The Director of Environment, Mr Mataio Tekinene presented on how the government is combating climate change and also highlighted adaptation projects currently being implemented. A presentation was also delivered by the General Manager of the Tuvalu Electricity Cooperation (TEC) who highlighted the TEC Mitigation Plan to Climate Change and with the government target of 100% for electricity generation in 2020.

With discussions on the lack of women’s participation in politics and in decision making, it was noted that women need to be empowered on all development issues and it was acknowledged that cultural barriers still exist where women are not encouraged to speak during community meetings, however as planners and facilitators of these community meetings, men are required to be gender sensitized and to make sure that opinions and ideas are also included from those that are more marginalized within a community.

A SWOT and BRET analysis was used to formulate the strategic action plans required in promoting gender equality and equity in the adaptation projects. The action plan proposes the following activities:

  • Showcase positive case studies/practices on gender mainstreaming in adaptation projects in Tuvalu and in other pacific countries; the expected outcome is to promote engendered and successful projects; a case study on engendered adaptation project is documented and distributed and poses as indicator; Stakeholders are (1) Department of Women Affairs, (2) Tuvalu National Council of Women, and (3) relevant stakeholders from environment, public health, energy, etc.
  • Carry out gender analysis in adaptation projects and entry points to gender; the outcomes are the documentation and dissemination of gender analysis reports; Gender entry points in projects are acknowledged and implemented (indicators); stakeholder: Department of Women Affairs and Environment
  • Strengthening communication between stakeholders/network and sharing of expertise and resources (funding); the outcome are for adaptation projects and policies  to include gender goals and gender sensitive approaches in the activities and documentation; as indicators pose a number of meetings per year and disaggregated data on meeting outcomes or activites are documented; relevant stakeholders are (1) Department of Environment, and (2) other departments, including Department of Women
  • Empowerment of women/men  to be able to engage more effectively in decision making relating to climate change adaptation; the outcome is the empowerment of women and men on climate change issues and human rights and gender equality issues; Indicators: At least 1 women and men champions the gender mainstreaming in climate change adaptation such as MPs wife, church leaders (male and female), kaupule, etc; stakeholder are (1) Tuvalu National Council of Women, (2) Department of Women Fakakaupule, and (3) Women Island Community Leaders

Future work
The project is developing two training manuals on Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Project and in Adaptation Projects. The first manual is still in draft form and is being circulated for comments and additional information, while the second training tool will be developed in 2012.

Further trainings and awareness programme is anticipated to be delivered in Nauru, Cook Islands and Niue before the end of this year. The project has also complemented the work of the Energy Programme in delivering one of the priority activities which is baseline energy data which is being carried out in the countries visited. The energy data will provide energy data for energy policy formulation that could lead the way to low carbon development in the Pacific region.


The project is part of the International Climate Initiative. The German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety is supporting the Initiative based on a decision of the German Federal Parliament.

Who we are

GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice is the global network of women and gender activists and experts from all world regions working for gender and climate justice.