Taiwan and the US have launched a program aimed at enhancing the economic prospects of women in Taiwan’s four diplomatic allies in the Pacific region — Palau, Nauru, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, the US Department of State announced on Friday.
Taiwan and the State Department teamed up with the Grameen Foundation to launch the Building Economic Inclusion via the Blue Economy (BELUU) program under the auspices of the two countries’ de facto embassies, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representation Office (TECRO).
The jointly funded three-year program aims to “enhance women’s ability to thrive via a more connected business environment, demonstrating the benefits of inclusive development, women’s economic empowerment, and democratic values that foster participation from all,” the State Department said in a statement.
“The program will focus on the power of the blue and green economies to increase the market participation of women entrepreneurs in the island nations of Palau, Nauru, Tuvalu and the Republic of Marshall Islands,” it said.
The State Department did not disclose any financial details about the program.
BELUU would partner with women-led civil society organizations to address barriers that women in the four countries face in terms of market engagement and disruptions in the economy, it said.
In the wake of worsening effects of climate change, such as cyclones, drought and sea-level rise, as well as the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and girls, the State Department said the program would prioritize the advancement of equity through outreach to and consultation with individuals from rural areas, ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ communities.
The program is expected to help more than 56,000 women, young entrepreneurs and marginalized community members, it said.
“The United States is committed to partnering with AIT and TECRO to enhance all women’s meaningful participation in the global economy,” the State Department said.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it was delighted to see the launch of the program, as the COVID-19 pandemic adversely effected the four Pacific island nations.
“Taiwan has been actively pushing for gender equality and women empowerment for years,” the ministry said in a statement. “Taiwan will continue to work with like-minded countries and its allies to further facilitate the economic development and social sustainability in the Pacific region.”
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