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Dispatch From UNDP in Fiji: Chelsea Sidloski’s third blog from the virtual field

Photo credit: UNDP-Pacific Office
By: Chelsea Sidloski, MIPP

Hi there! It’s me again happy to update you all with a third blog post about my internship with the United Nations Development Programme-Gender Division at the Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji. I am currently writing from my desk at home in downtown Toronto, Ontario where I have been working for my entire internship. I am not going to lie, coming into this internship, I was a bit worried about the disadvantages of interning remotely, but my team and I have made it work, and I really don’t have any complaints! Even though some of our teams’ meetings have started after 9pm, it has worked out for me since I find that I focus the best in the evenings! Before starting my internship with UNDP-Fiji, I was lucky enough to visit Fiji a few months before on a personal trip, and I must say, that I was blown away by the amazing, warm, and inspiring cultures across the island. During my visit, I actually walked past the UNDP office, and thought to myself how cool it would be to work for such an impactful international force! A few months later, come to my surprise I was offered a placement out of the Pacific office – a dream come true!

For those of you that have kept up with my last two blogs, you would have noticed that I spent a great time explaining the technical skills and work that I have been applying during my internship. For this blog, I thought it would be nice to talk about some of the key highlights and success stories coming out of UNDP projects that I have learned about through some of my analysis work.

Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management

  • 7 of the pacific countries – the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, Samoa, and Tokelau – achieved the Aichi Target of 17 percent for terrestrial protection, while Tonga and Tuvalu evaluations have indicated that they are also approaching this target. Some of the actions that contributed to this achievement include:
      • UNDP supported 1454 households of 17 communities in rural areas with EE cook stoves
      • The establishment of national protected area network regulations
      • The creation of the first biomass gasification power plant in Samoa
      • The support of renewable energy low carbon technologies for over 3000 buildings in Tuvalu.

Economic Growth and Empowerment 

  • Financial inclusion increased by 21 percent in the last year in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu through the support of the UNDP and the United National Capital Fund which supports residents with remittance flow and the creation of bank accounts and identification profiles.
  • Gender equality was also greatly supported through economic empowerment of women market vendors which was supported by the Markets for Change project facilitated by the UNDP, civil society organizations, and UN agencies.

Governance Related Issues

  • National Dialogue across pacific islands on the prevention of Violence against Women and Girls took place during the Spotlight Initiative’s 16 days of healing virtual campaign which reached 66,000 people.
  • Female representation greatly increased across governance bodies in the pacific as well as in environmental projects
  • The regions first digital transformation authority has been developed in Solomon Islands to support in the digitalization strategy
  • The Women in Leadership in Samoa Project implemented by UNDP and UN Women has worked to support emerging women political candidates through training sessions and has changed the policies in over 150 villages to allow women married into villages to participate in committee meetings

These above-mentioned highlights are just a few of the many impactful projects and development initiatives that our office has played a large part in, and I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to support!

I have a few months left in my internship and I really look forward to learning about and supporting more of these amazing projects. Although this is my last UN blog post, I am open to sharing more about this experience with any of you reading this!

Please feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.

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