CTI Women Leader Forum

During its 10th Senior Officials Meeting and 5th Ministerial Meeting in Manado, Indonesia in May 2014, the CTI-CFF called upon Coral Triangle countries to actively enggage and incorporate the perspectives of women and girls towards achieving its Regional and National Plans of Action goals and targets through the CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum. The CTI-CFF encouraged all its bodies and its six member countries to clearly demonstrate their engagement with and reflect upon the role of women and girls as stakeholders in CTI activites, and document these actions to provide testament to and serve as a model for gender integration.

The CTI-CFF Women Leaders' Forum functions as:

  • A peer-learning network for women who are playing key leadership roles in sustaining the marine resources of the Coral Triangle region,
  • Recognize the achievement of grassroots women leaders who are championing marine conservation in the six Coral Triangle countries, and,
  • Serve as a platform to build the capacity of women from the Coral Triangle to take leadership roles in preserving and sustaining the regions' unique marine and coastal resources.

The forum also aims to support the CTI-CFF in integrating gender principles in its activities under its Regional and National Plans of Action and thus, becoming a world leader in integrated, gender sensitive conservation and development. This will be done by collecting and sharing tools as well as good practices that integrate gender principles in marine conservation and sustainability projects and weaving it into existing CTI-CFF structures and activities outlined by the CTI-CFF Regional and National Plans of Action.

The CTI-CFF and the Role of Women in Marine Conservation and sustainability

Threats to the Coral Triangle, and efforts to address these threats, may impact men and women differently. Men and women have different skills and perspectives to contribute in addressing these threats. Programs and projects that don’t factor in gender risk are inappropriate or inaccessible for a large proportion of target communities, and may even amplify existing social inequalities within these communities.

The FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (FAO REU) with the support of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) convened a high-level conference, to provide an interactive platform to promote partnerships and joint learning for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the Agenda 2030. The meeting acknowledged that women play a robust part in agriculture and food security: their labour force participation rate in the sector is 43 percent. Still, rural women are at greater risk of poverty. In almost all countries, female household heads have less access to critical resources such as land, water and credit, and are less well educated than their male counterparts. Studies have shown that improved societal status of women counted for as much as half of the global reduction in hunger between 1970 and 1995. Progress in women’s access to education alone was linked to a 43 percent gain in food security – as significant as the gains from increased food availability (26 percent) and health advances (19 percent) combined.

CTI-CFF Women Leaders Peer Exchange to the United States

The US Department of Interior (DOI), with funding from USAID, worked with the Coral Triangle Center (CTC) to host women leaders from the six Coral Triangle countries to participate in a multi-faceted, peer exchange to the U.S. from April –May 2014.

The program involved state-of-the-art leadership training, professional development opportunities, field-based learning, and collaboration with other women leaders. Following the study tour, participants have helped organize and develop the roadmap of the CTI-CFF Women Leaders’ Forum.

CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum Basic Training on the Principles of Marine Protected Area Management

Sixteen women leaders attended a training on marine protected area management on November 3-5, 2014 in Dili, Timor-Leste.

The training was specifically customized for women and used creative ways of knowledge sharing, focused on strengthening the capacity of women from government, community, and non-government organizations to take a more active role in preserving and sustaining Timor-Leste’s unique marine and coastal resources. The women also developed a national network that will help coordinate activities and raise the profile of women leaders involved in marine conservation and management.

Malaysia Jumpstarts Network for Women Leaders in Marine Conservation

The CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum Earth Hour Awareness talk was held in Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia on March 28, 2015. Organized by WWF-Malaysia and supported by USAID, DOI and CTC, the talk had 40 participants and featured four women leaders from the proposed Tun Mustapha Park in Sabah, a globally significant priority conservation area in the Coral Triangle.

WLF in Malaysia hopes to serve as a dynamic peer-learning network that shares best practices in marine resource conservation as well as a platform to build the capacity of women as environmental custodians.

CTI-CFF Grassroots Women Leaders’ Small Grant Awards

The CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum, in collaboration with USAID, US Department of Interior, CTI NCC Philippines, Conservation International and Coral Triangle Center, participated in the 3rd Forum on Women Leaders in Biodiversity Conservation held in Manila on July 21, 2015.

The event highlighted the accomplishments of the women leaders to serve as inspiration in promoting biodiversity conservation and environmental law enforcement.

CTI-CFF Grassroots Women Leaders’ Small Grant Awards

As part of the CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum launch, six grassroots women leaders were honored and awarded a small grant of US$3,000 to carry out marine conservation and sustainability project in their communities. USAID, DOI, CTC supported and managed the grants for PNG, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste while the Asian Development Bank supported the grants for Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum Roundtable in Papua New Guinea

The CTI-CFF Women Leaders’ Forum Roundtable was held in Alotau, Milne Bay on March 24, 2015 where 25 women leaders from coastal communities in Papua New Guinea (PNG) committed to work together, share experiences, inspire each other, and find ways to strengthen their capacity in leading marine and coastal resource conservation projects during the first ever gathering of women engaged in marine conservation and sustainable fisheries. During the forum, the women elected focal points and a secretariat for the WLF in PNG. The PNG Conservation and Environment Protection Authority, The Nature Conservancy, USAID-USDOI-CTC organized the forum.

SI Women Take Lead Role in Natural Resource Management

Environmental managers from the Solomon Islands gathered in Honiara on August 3, 2015 and agreed to form a network and develop a national work program that will foster closer collaboration among women, offer opportunities to share information, build capacity, and develop livelihood programs where women are supported and empowered to take a central role in environmental issues and actively support the marine conservation and sustainability goals of the Coral Triangle Initiative.

CTI-CFF Women Leaders Entrepreneurs’ Roundtable

Four women leaders from Indonesia participated in roundtable discussion at the sidelines of 4th CTI-CFF Regional Business Forum in August 27, 2015 to inspire and engage women entrepreneurs to successfully catalyze sustainable and environment-friendly businesses that support and sustain marine resources across Indonesia.

By sharing lessons learned and highlighting best practices, the women leaders who each built their sustainable businesses that promote marine and coastal conservation aimed to inspire more women to pursue a similar path.

2nd Roundtable of The National PNG Branch

On 15-17 June 2016, the 2nd roundtable of the National PNG branch of the CTI-CFF Women Leaders’ Forum was held in Manus province, Papua New Guinea with the theme ‘Rights-Based Management is empowering women in food security, sustainable community fisheries and climate adaptation programs in rural communities of PNG’.

The event had 120 participants who came to reaffirm their commitment to, and leadership role in, the sustainable management of the coastal and marine resources of PNG. A survey conducted amongst participants showed that they saw the primary role of the WLF as being a forum for women, and to enable consultation amongst women leaders. They identified the top 3 issues PNG WLF should focus going forward as: Natural Resource Management; Social Development and Consultation and Cooperation.

The event was convened by The Nature Conservancy’s PNG program, supported by the German and Australian Government, in collaboration with the PNG National Government and the Manus Provincial Government. It involved other partners including the PNG Women in Business Foundation, the National Council of Women, the Provincial Council of Women, and the PEDF.

Co-funded by Australian government and WWF's corporate partner John West Australia to improve livelihoods and food security of coastal fishing communities in Madang Province, PNG. Innovative approaches to sustainable fisheries and fisheries management, linked to empowering women. Includes micro-finance and revolving loans for women to help develop small business opportunities for local fishing communities.

12 Community Based Organizations (CBOs) with 120 women registered with the People's Micro bank through the micro-finance programme. Worked to establish a process to assist new members open accounts with commercial banks and People’s Micro bank.

1st Capacity Building Workshop for The Malaysian WLF Branch

The 1st capacity building workshop for the Malaysian Women Leader’s Forum (WLF) was held on the 13-15 October 2016 attended by 15 women leaders. The workshop covered: i) Effective Public Speaking & Presentation Skill, and ii) Non Finance to Non Finance People.

The group listed activities and plans for next year which will be discussed on Nov 7, 2016 with women leaders and CTI-CFF implementing agencies in Malaysia, and youth and community groups. The workshop was convened by WWF Malaysia and supported by the Malaysian Wildlife Conservation Foundation (MWCF). The participants were from Green Semporna, Kudat Turtle Conservation Society. Wanita Pulau Omadal, Padang Kemunting Turtle Friendly Village Community, Balambangan Community and WWF –Malaysia Community Education and Engagement team.

Private Partnership in The Solomon Islands

Co-funded by Australian government and WWF's corporate partner John West Australia to improve livelihoods and food security of coastal fishing communities and small scale and artisanal fishers in Gizo, Western Province, Solomon Islands.

Innovative approaches to sustainable fisheries and fisheries management, linked to empowering women. Includes micro-finance and revolving loans for women to help develop small business opportunities for local fishing communities. Community-based fisheries work includes focus on women’s economic empowerment, recognizing this can help address some underlying socio-economic drivers of unsustainable practices. Micro-savings scheme has 738 savings club members who have saved over USD30,000; with 100 loans granted; and 70 new small businesses started.

CTI WLF at The International Symposium on Capacity Buiding for Sustainable Oceans

On 19-20 July 2016, a WLF representative presented at the International Symposium on Capacity Building for Sustainable Oceans in Tokyo, Japan, hosed by the Nippon Foundation, the Government of Japan, and supported by TNC.

Ms Roziah Jalalid, Chairperson of the Omadal Women’s Association from Sabah, Malaysia represented WLF and shared how WLF allowed her to learn from other women working on sustainable marine and coastal management across Malaysia.

Ms. Roziah has been involved in community engagement, outreach and capacity building for marine conservation in Sabah, Malaysia since 2010. Roziah was first exposed to the CTI-CFF WLF in 2015, when a national level WLF event was held in Sabah, with support from WWF Malaysia.

CTI WLF at The International Coral Reef Symposium

As part of the side events of the International Coral Reef Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii CTC and the CTI-CFF Regional Secretariat presented the CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum milestones at the East-West Center on June 24, 2016.

Ms Roziah Jalalid, Chairperson of the Omadal Women’s Association from Sabah, Malaysia represented WLF and shared how WLF allowed her to learn from other women working on sustainable marine and coastal management across Malaysia.

In September, TNC brought together WLF representatives from PNG and Solomon to a week-long learning exchange during the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii. The women worked on grassroots natural resource management, and the learning exchange provided an opportunity to share their experiences, knowledge and challenges with one another.

The WLF representatives had the chance to learn from local indigenous leaders in Hawaii about traditional resource management practices, as well as to share their stories with global participants attending the congress by hosting a ‘Knowledge Café’ session focused on women’s leadership in conservation. The WCC Women’s Learning exchange provided an important opportunity to showcase women-led initiatives like the WLF, and to connect these inspiring women leaders with others from across the region.