Women leaders from the Vanuatu Civil Society Influencing Network have delivered an important request for support to the Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency António Guterres, in Port Vila.

“Let’s get the balance right! We’re aiming for 50% women in our National Parliament from 2020 on,” said Hilda Lini, spokesperson for Advocates for Women in Parliament and independent Vanuatu’s first female Member of Parliament.

“We are asking our citizens to vote for women candidates in the 2020 national elections, and help us create a strong and ethical Parliament that truly represents the people of Vanuatu,” she said.

Women leaders unfurled a giant banner stating ‘Get the Balance Right: 50% Women in Parliament’ and delivered two statements to the Secretary General at the Port Vila seafront: one highlighting the critical issues of zero women in Vanuatu’s Parliament and the extreme of impacts of climate damage, and the second articulating a strong statement of solidarity with the indigenous peoples of West Papua, Kanaky (New Caledonia), French Polynesia and Maluku (South Moluccus).

“We are requesting support from the United Nations Secretary General to protect the rights of our indigenous sisters and brothers in Kanaky, West Papua, French Polynesia and Maluku, and support their independence and right to self-determination,” said Sabine Tjibaou, Chairperson of Vanuatu’s Free Kanaky Committee.

Vanuatu is a great ocean state. But extreme climate damage, caused by big corporate polluters and rich coal-burning nations, continues to threaten our very existence. We are advocating for all countries to take their global responsibilities seriously, to embrace a 100% clean energy future and to take immediate action to stop climate pollution,” said Dr Andrina Thomas, spokesperson for Women Against Crime and Corruption.