From high school teacher to political activist to sustainable development

Suliana Siwatibau, 77, has made immense contributions to the Pacific region over many decades, working across multiple fields including science, environment, leadership and activism for peace, democracy and human rights. A botanist by training, Mrs Siwatibau started out teaching science at secondary school level in Fiji, then later biology at the University of the South Pacific before switching to agricultural research. She was also a … Continue reading From high school teacher to political activist to sustainable development

She introduced a “no discrimination” clause in the Fijian Constitution

Seventy-three-year-old retired politician Adi Finau Tabakaucoro has spent a lifetime advocating for the interests of indigenous Fijian women and girls. She is the current President of the largest women’s civil society organisation in Fiji; Soqosoqo Vakamarama i Viti, which works in the country’s 14 provinces on village, district and provincial matters as well as national development policies, programming, laws, regulations and services. A wide range of … Continue reading She introduced a “no discrimination” clause in the Fijian Constitution

‘Utoikamanu is the highest ranking Pacific Island person at the UN

In April, Tonga’s Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu was appointed the United Nations’ High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and Under Secretary General, making her the highest ranking Pacific Island person at the UN. Ms. ‘Utoikamanu has a wealth of national, regional and international experience in various senior leadership positions. Prior to her latest appointment, she was Chief … Continue reading ‘Utoikamanu is the highest ranking Pacific Island person at the UN

Rosa Koian: fighting for village people against mining corporations in PNG

“There can be no sustainable development when rural women in their communities are frequently held under threat of displacement, or physical and sexual abuse.” Rosa Koian, Activist, Papua New Guinea Fifty-two-year-old Rosa Koian is a pioneering environmental and human rights activist in Papua New Guinea, where she’s been unafraid to fight for the rights of women and village people against exploitation by transnational corporations or extractive … Continue reading Rosa Koian: fighting for village people against mining corporations in PNG

The woman who made Palau the only nuclear-free country in the world

The late Gabriela Ngirmang, Mirair of Koror, was instrumental in giving the world its first nuclear-free constitution. As  Mirair (leading woman for the eastern side of the state of Koror), Gabriela Ngirmang was the leader of Otil A Beluad (the Anchor of the Land) women’s organisation for 50 years. When she died at the age of 84 in 2007, she had been a central figure … Continue reading The woman who made Palau the only nuclear-free country in the world

Portrait of Charmaine Scotty, one of two female deputies of Nauru

When Honourable Charmaine Eraidinomo Scotty was elected member of parliament in Nauru’s June 2013 elections, she made history as only the second woman to do so, following in the footsteps of Ruby Dediya (who was MP from 1986 to 1992 and from 1995 to 1997). Following her election to parliament, Hon. Scotty was appointed by newly elected President Baron Waqa to serve in his administration … Continue reading Portrait of Charmaine Scotty, one of two female deputies of Nauru

Meet Neta, a scientist from Tonga who united the Pacific islands against climate change

As the former director of the Climate Change Division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) for the past seven and a half years, Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti, or Neta as she is widely known, led Pacific Island efforts in tackling the single most pressing issue facing the region today. She brought over 20 years of experience in climate change, coastal management and … Continue reading Meet Neta, a scientist from Tonga who united the Pacific islands against climate change

Costa Rica wants to ban single-use plastics by 2021

Costa Rica is the second country to announce the adoption of a plastics ban, following Vanuatu, two weeks ago. Costa Rica also announces a deadline, 2021, and its ban will be specifically against single-use plastics. After all, this small central american country is already an environmental leader, having managed multiple 100% renewable energy periods these past years. Moreover, Costa Rica has also set the challenge … Continue reading Costa Rica wants to ban single-use plastics by 2021

The anthropologist who dedicated her life to keep Palauan culture alive

The late Katharine Kesolei, or Kathy as she was better known, devoted more than 30 years of her life to the cultural, educational and economic advancement of the Palauan people. “In today’s world, people are beginning to reconsider these indigenous cultures. They now realize that this ‘white’ society that imposes some of their values on us is a kind of oppression…I’m not saying it in … Continue reading The anthropologist who dedicated her life to keep Palauan culture alive

Meet Fiame (chief) Naomi Mata’afa of Samoa

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa made history as the first woman Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa after the 2016 elections. She first entered politics in 1985 as a member for Lotofaga under the Human Rights Protection Party. She became a Cabinet Minister in 1991 and held the Education, Youth, Sports, Culture and Labour portfolios from 1991 to 2006. After the March 2006 General Elections, Honourable Mata’afa continued … Continue reading Meet Fiame (chief) Naomi Mata’afa of Samoa