Through Pacific Women, the Australian Government will spend approximately $1.4 million over 10 years (2012–2022) on initiatives supporting women’s and girl’s empowerment in Palau.
Country Plans are the mechanism through which Pacific Women outcomes and activities are planned and agreed between DFAT and counterpart governments, following extensive national consultations. They provide detail on what will be funded and how these funding decisions are made.
The first Country Plan for Palau outlined activities for 2015–2019. This is the second Country Plan which covers the period 2020–2022. It was developed on the basis of collaboration and consultation with key stakeholders. The second Country Plan builds on the achievements and lessons learned under the first Country Plan. It focuses on strengthening enabling environments and institutions for gender equality and social inclusion.
The second Country Plan includes activities that support the Division of Gender in the Bureau of Aging, Disability and Gender in the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs to progress implementation of the Palau National Gender Mainstreaming Policy 2018. Funding continues for a full-time gender analyst. The gender analyst works on sex-disaggregated data in partnership with the Office of Planning and Statistics and other relevant stakeholders. Short-term national consultants provide technical capacity to the Division of Gender to track progress against the gender mainstreaming policy.
Work will continue to strengthen the implementation of the Family Protection Act 2012. The second Country Plan provides for in-country first responder and trauma counsellor training, so that a number of counsellors can be upskilled. It also funds community awareness of the Family Protection Act through brochures printed in Palauan and English for wide distribution in the community. Two Australian volunteers4 are supporting the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs to develop a strategy and implementation plan to carry out the recommendations from the 2017 review of the Family Protection Act.5 They are also assisting to develop standard operating procedures and referral systems for survivors of violence.
The second Country Plan supports activities that enhance opportunities for women’s economic empowerment, including a network of women business entrepreneurs. A further opportunity to advance women’s economic empowerment in Palau is through the regional POETCom program, which is aimed at building prosperity for women producers, processors and women-owned businesses though organic value chains. It is expected that the POETCom program will be operational in Palau in 2020.
In addition to Pacific Women, DFAT makes an important contribution to gender equality in Palau through mainstreaming gender outcomes in the aid program, as well as through political, diplomatic and corporate activities.