Nuku‘alofa, Tonga – November 10, 2016 THE Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) invited Lord Fusitu’a and Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu to the 11th Women Ministers and Parliamentarians’ Conference held at Bangkok, Thailand from 4-5 November, 2016.
The overarching theme of this Conference was Ensuring Gender Equality and Women’s Empowering from a Life-Cycle Approach Leaving No Girls and No Women Behind.
Dr. Mika Marumoto, AFPPD Executive Director in the middle with Lord Fusitu'a and Hon. 'Akosita Lavulavu at the Conference
As part of the program the parliamentarian’s representatives were allocated to five (5) Panels where each representative shared national experiences about relevant women issues. These includes women’s empowerment in elimination of violence against women, ensuring girls’ and women’s health throughout their life courses, women’s political participation, women’s economic participation and ensuring the rights of vulnerable (in the context of migration and climate change).
Lord Fusitu’a chaired Panel number 2 – “Ensuring Girls’ and Women’s Health throughout their Life Courses”, and Panel number 5 - “Ensuring the rights of the vulnerable – in the context of migration and climate change”, with brilliance and excellence. Under his excellent leading of these two Panels, the panellists were able to share each of their country’s experiences and challenges in each of these Panels. Lord Fusitu’a is also the Co-Chair or the AFPPD Standing Committee on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.
Lord Fusitu'a in chairing the Panel for “Ensuring Girls’ and Women’s Health throughout their Life Courses”
Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu was one of the panellists in Panel number 4 – “Women’s Political Participation”. Her speech focused on the challenges for Tongan women candidacy for Parliament in Tonga. The delegations to the Conference was interested in Hon. Lavulavu’s sharing particularly in two aspects of her speech. One is the ‘failure of women to vote for women’ into parliament despite women making up about 50 percent of the Tongan’s population, and second ‘women are not confident to contest in the elections’. The two issues from Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu’s speech were the highlight of the discussion of the conference at the end of first day of the conference and also throughout the second day of the conference.
Hon. 'Akosita Lavulavu with her co-panellists while delivering her brilliant speech
In her most informative speech Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu suggested ways on how to empower women to participate in politics. These strategies include mainstreaming of gender related issues in Tonga’s legal framework and related policies. In concluding her speech Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu said ‘she is humbled to serve in paving the way for more women and for young girls’ to be parliamentarians because she ‘believes that there is nothing impossible in achieving women’s vision of actively engaging as leaders and as parliamentarians.’
Hon. 'Akosita Lavulavu in delivering her speech during the 11th Women Minister and Parliamentarian’s' Conference
The Bangkok conference delegations unanimously adopted Parliamentarians’ Declaration and Commitments of the outcomes from the conference.
Lord Fusitu’a has returned to Tonga on Wednesday 9 November 2016 while Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu continued to New Zealand on another official visit.