30 Oct Women Leaders Breaking Waves in Ocean Conservation

As part of the Our Ocean Conference, CTC co-organized the “Women Leaders, Breaking Waves in Ocean Conservation” breakfast forum October 30, 2018 at the Bali Nusa Dua Hotel.  The forum focused on the leadership qualities of successful women leaders and aimed to gain inspiration, insights, and tools that can guide other women leaders around the globe in charting their own path in protecting our oceans.

It was co-organized in collaboration with the CTI-CFF Regional Secretariat, USAID, US DOI International Technical Assistance Program and the Australian Department of Environment and Energy.

The panel opened with Ms. Rina Janwar representing the MMAF. As part of the CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum herself, she noted how women leaders from the six countries of the Coral Triangle (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste), have shown what an empowered women leader can do to steer policy support towards marine conservation and also ensure effective implementation of marine conservation projects on the ground action and highlighting Minister Susi Pudjiastuti as one of the examples.

The second speaker was USAID Deputy Assistant Director Carrie Thompson who noted her agency’s support in the inclusion of gender and human welfare considerations throughout all of its marine conservation programming in the region specifically the CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum. She noted that USAID has been a proud partner in supporting many of the Women Leaders Forum activities an highlighted the completion of a year-long Intergenerational Learning and Mentoring Program a few days before OOC 2018. The program was designed to pass on knowledge from senior marine conservation women leaders in the six Coral Triangle countries to the younger generation of women leaders. She noted that she was pleased to see that the program has been instrumental in developing social networks and mentoring relationships among the participants and provided opportunities for the women to take the lead as drivers of creativity and innovation in resource management in the region. Ms. Thompson reaffirmed that USAID stands with efforts to advance integrated, gender-sensitive conservation and development. She then thanked the events’ organizers and the guests present in the forum.

The third speaker was Australian Consulate General Helena Studdert who lauded the MMAF for working hard at reforming the fishing industry, building the fish stocks and creating the conditions where fishing becomes a sustainable industry for Indonesia’s growing population. She said that the Australian Government is pleased to highlight the SEANET Project that got behind the reforms that Minister Susi and her government are seeking to achieve in the fishing sector, including improved log book practices and reduced bycatch of threatened species such as turtles and dolphins. She noted that importantly, this project – the SeaNet project in the Arafura Sea – has sought to support women in the post harvest, post processing part of fishing, to enable them to improve the financial returns of their work, and through it support the acquiring of skills useful to any household, such as budgeting and business planning.  She noted that one element of this project which is commendable was its focus on identifying and supporting those women who wish to play a leadership role in their own communities and helping develop their skills in business management.

The first panel discussion featured women leaders from the Coral Triangle  who shared stories on how they are sustaining our marine and coastal resources on the ground. It was moderated by Indonesian Journalist Yuli Ismartono.

Ms. Siti Boy Rahanyaan who was featured in the earlier video shared that  under the guidance of SEANET Project, she was able to improve the livelihood of her family and her fellow community members by processing low value fish into high value food products, thereby reducing fishing pressure in  their fishing grounds. She was also able able to improve her business and marketing skills and achieve her community leadership potential in the process.  She noted that although she  faces many challenges due to her lack of education, she was able to build her confidence and be a part of an international forum due to the project’s mentorship efforts.

Dr. Siti Aisyah Alias from Malaysia talked about her project to protect a sea turtle nesting site in Malaysia by bringing together community, private sector, government and local NGOs to work together. She highlighted how the Inter-generational Leadership Learning Forum helped her hone her leadership skills in bringing various stakeholders together for conservation.

Ms. Agnetha Vave-Karamui from the Solomon Islands talked about how women leaders working at the national and regional level are able to help build and bring up women leaders working in the communities who are also working to protect their marine resources. She noted that most women leaders in marine conservation are silent workers and often work behind the scenes and it is important for them to become more self aware of what they are capable of doing, have the platform to share their experiences and be recognized for the efforts to inspire more women leaders and amplify their impact.

The second panel focused on development agencies and donors highlighting efforts and major milestones achieved in women empowerment advancing the blue economy in Asia Pacific and new commitments and long term perspectives. The panel was moderated by CTC Executive Director Rili Djohani.

CTI-CFF Interim Executive Director Hendra Siry noted the CTI-CFF’s ongoing support for the Women Leaders’ Forum and its move to strengthen the integration of gender policies in its Regional Plan of Action review. He noted that CTI-CFF will continue to work with development partners in promoting women empowerment in the region.

Aurelia Micko from USAID RDMA echoed Hendra’s statement and also noted USAID’s continuing support for women empowerment and leadership programs and how thease are integrated  in marine conservation and fisheries projects in the region. She also noted how women in a position to become mentors to younger women leaders should take the lead in lifting other younger women.

Nicole Coombe from the Australian Department of Environment and Energy highlighted the importance of supporting women leaders from the community and how it can have a larger impact in the community.

The event MC was Dinah Yunitawati, from the MMAF Indonesia and member of the CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum and participant of the Inter-generational Leadership Learning Program.

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