International Development Week (IDW) provides the Canadian community an opportunity to engage with global issues and acknowledge the contributions Canadian organizations make in poverty reduction and international development work. Pacific Peoples’ Partnership is proud to continue to support the aspirations of Indigenous and South Pacific Peoples’ and to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We firmly believe that our work in elevating and empowering Indigenous voices and traditions, building resiliency at the community-level, and advocating for human rights is fundamentally linked with the global goals and we are honoured to build on this work.
2020 brought about unprecedented challenges that pushed all of us to slow down and to think creatively. Even high-income countries such as Canada experienced considerable impacts as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which ranged from nationwide economic recessions to individual mental health challenges. The pandemic has also exacerbated many problems in Indigenous communities in Canada, as remote nations especially struggle to provide their people with employment while safeguarding their health. We continue to work and support these communities, particularly when it comes to advocating for their right t0 self-determined development and territorial rights.
Alongside the impacts of the current pandemic, our partners, friends, brothers, and sisters in the South Pacific continue to face the challenges of climate change with South Pacific countries bearing the brunt of global warming’s associated impacts such as the devastating cyclone ‘Yasa’ which landed in Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga just a few short months ago leaving many without homes and millions of dollars in damage across the island. For many of these countries, the notion of ‘building back better’ is daunting, and achieving the SDGs has proven to be exceedingly difficult. Many of these communities have the capacity to adapt to climate change using their own knowledge and capacities but have been systematically prevented from doing so. Our Pacific Resilience Fund is transforming into an Indigenous-led fund with the intention of moving away from a charity-based model and toward providing communities with decision making power to utilize funds in ways that they see best. The PRF is intended to build resilience in Pacific Island communities as they define it, while ultimately supporting the livelihoods and adaptation measures of Pacific communities facing the dual challenges of climate change and covid-19, which in turn will catalyze empowerment, self-determination, and fit-for-purpose projects. The fund is currently working with communities in Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia. You can learn more about the PRF and donate here.
We also continue to work in partnership with local Indigenous communities by providing innovative programming, leadership opportunities, and exhibitions of the arts and cultural work. Our annual OneWave Gathering was held this year in partnership with Songhees and Esquimalt Nations and despite the challenges presented by the Pandemic, PPP was able to deliver some truly inspiring and empowering programs. We were also successful in attaining government funding for a novel program titled ‘Stories of Resilience’ which is ongoing. Stories of Resilience is providing 8 Indigenous and South Pacific youth the opportunity to create and curate a series of multimedia pieces that will explore the lived realities of Indigenous communities. We are tremendously excited to see what they will create – so stay tuned here.
As part of our strategy to #GoForTheGoals we will be holding two virtual summits, one in early March that will focus on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and our related programming, as well as another with the date TBA on West Papua and the ongoing human rights violations in the region.
While we are not holding any events during IDW, our longtime partners and friends at the Victoria International Development Education Association (VIDEA) and the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) are both hosting a range of virtual events. Please take a look at their great offerings in the next few weeks.