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Gender in Health and Climate Security Workshop Fosters Indo-Pacific Civil Society, Defense Collaboration

Enhancing Resilience and Security through Gender Perspectives and Meaningful Women’s Inclusion in the Region

Honolulu, 02/13/2024 – Defense and security force personnel and civil society representatives from seven participating Indo-Pacific countries gathered for a two-day Gender in Health and Climate Security Workshop on January 30 and 31, 2024, sponsored by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and organized by Pacific Forum International. A total of 45 people participated. This workshop was the first of two planned interfaces between defense and security force and civil society representatives to discuss gender-sensitive climate- and health-disaster responses.

Defense and security force personnel and women’s civil society organizations (CSOs) from Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Fiji, PNG, and Vanuatu attended the virtual workshop. It offered a review of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) fundamentals, climate security, the gendered impacts of climate change on human and national security, women’s health in disasters, and the intersection of WPS with international law and regional frameworks.

Distinguished speakers, including Dr. Calpito (Philippine Council for Health Research and Development), Anne Pakoa (Vanuatu Human Rights Coalition), Fatin Jamjuree (Civic Women, Thailand), and Maj. Anna Mathew (Director of Health in Disasters and Nurse, Papua New Guinea Defence Force), shared valuable insights and case studies, highlighting the experiences of women following climate-related health and natural disasters. One civil society representative shared that a member of her community was arrested for asking her government to support women who were still living in caves following a cyclone with secure housing.

Country-based breakout sessions allowed for active discussions between women’s groups and the defense and security forces. These discussions laid foundations for collaboration on responses to future climate and health crises. Another civil society participant noted that this was the first opportunity to speak directly with the military, and expressed hope that such consultations would continue into the future.

The workshop provided participating countries with encouragement to seek women’s meaningful participation and ideas for how to give women increased access to resources, and reinforced the need for defense and security personnel to use a gender perspective in their humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts.

The workshop series will continue in late April 2024 in Indonesia, during which participants will develop a climate security plan of action template that can be used to create context-specific approaches to disaster responses that meet the needs of both women and men.

As a leading non-profit research institution in the Indo-Pacific, Pacific Forum remains dedicated to fostering dialogue and understanding among leaders, policymakers, and scholars.

Media Contact:

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About Pacific Forum:

Pacific Forum is a non-profit think tank fostering dialogue, cooperation, and policy shaping in the Indo-Pacific region. For more information, visit

About USINDOPACOM’s Office of Women, Peace & Security:

USINDOPACOM’s Office of Women, Peace & Security (WPS) mainstreams gender perspectives into theater plans, programs, and policies in order to enable the USINDOPACOM enterprise to develop inclusive security strategies that advance a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. For more information, visit