The National, Thursday October 31st, 2013
AUSTRALIA will continue to support Papua New Guinea to address gender equality through its qualified programmes and plans outlined under its aid scheme, Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes said.
Addressing a breakfast hosted by community-based non-profit advocacy group Coalition for Change in Port Moresby yesterday, she reassured members from the government and private sectors, stakeholders and development partners that Australia was keen to fully realise its programmes.
She said her country was offering scholarships to 3,300 PNG women next year to study in Australia and see continued assistance to existing programmes and initiatives in the country.
Stokes Australia’s foreign minister had also maintained that its programmes to PNG in the areas of gender equality and violence against women remained priorities.
“Yes, our new government has made it clear that our relationship with PNG is a high priority and there is commitment to continue the aid programme,” she said.
“Under the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative, Australia will spend close to A$58 million over 10 years on a range of activities, including implementing a first systematic survey of family and sexual violence.
“As a close friend and partner of PNG, Australia is committed to helping PNG create the conditions that allow women and girls to have opportunities that are at least equal to those for men and boys in PNG.”
Stokes said the issue was a global challenge and that collective efforts were needed to address gender equity and gender violence.