Pacific women’s NGO granted a special consultative status by UN body

P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A Incorporated is a national non government organisation (NGO) for Pacific women living in Aotearoa New Zealand Photo: PACIFICA

The PACIFICA organisation in Aotearoa has been granted a special consultative status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

PACIFICA National President, the Reverend Alofa Lale, said this is a historic and monunmental achievement for the organisation and for Pasifika women and families in New Zealand.

The PACIFICA application had been submitted 1 June 2020 however this decision had been delayed due to the onslaught of Covid-19.

PACIFICA Inc. was established as the national non-government organisation for Pāsifika women living in Aotearoa New Zealand in 1976 as a result of a Pacific Women’s Conference held in Auckland that year, and it became an incorporated society in 1977.

“I want to acknowledge the tremendous work of former National Executive members – National President Tofilau Bernadette Pereira, Malia Tua’i-Manuleleua, and Debra Kesha-Lloyd – and former National Presidents Tagaloatele Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop, Dr Diane Mara, and Dr Jean Mitaera for their untiring efforts in getting the ECOSOC application work over the line,” she said.

She said the accreditation will open doors and opportunities on a global scale for the organisation to continue its work in advancing the progress and development of Pāsifika women in Aotearoa.

“For too long New Zealand’s Pacific women and families have been represented by ‘others’ at community, national and global forums,” she said.

“This Consultative Status to ECOSOC is the highest status granted by the United Nations to non-governmental organisations, (NGOs.)”

This will enable PACIFICA to participate in the work of the United Nations in a number of ways with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, the Human Rights Council and events of the General Assembly and other intergovernmental bodies.

“PACIFICA’s consultative status gives us the freedom to present our experiences and aspirations in our own ways. And a responsibility to ensure the authenticity and robustness of the voices we share, so that no-one is left behind,” Reverend Alofa said.

It is not lost on our PACIFICA organisation that today, October 20, is the 49th Anniversary of New Zealand’s Equal Pay Act.

In announcing the ECOSOC success today Reverend Alofa acknowledges “such recognition gives further authority to our work on issues impacting our members, their families and communities – issues such as the ethnic pay gap.”

In referring to Statistics New Zealand’s data, Reverend Alofa spoke of the average hourly wage earned in 2017 by Māori employees being 82% of the average hourly Pākehā wage, while the average wage earned by Pacific employees was 77% of the average wage.

“As part of the Mind the Gap campaign, we are aware that international experience has shown that the simple act of requiring organisations to report their pay gaps to the public significantly reduces those gaps and we support the campaign’s demand for mandatory pay gap reporting now,” she said.

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