Launch of the Pacific’s first Gender and the Environment Post Graduate Course


Fisherwoman from Rakiraki, Fiji

The new Gender and the Environment post graduate course which officially commenced in Semester 1 2022, is a groundbreaking milestone as it is the Pacific’s first big step towards mainstreaming of gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) in fisheries/aquaculture and the wider environment sectors at Pacific tertiary education level. Further to this, the course provides a forum for the critical examination and understanding of how gender plays out in environmental issues, with a focus on Pacific Island countries.

The USP component of the Pacific European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme last week completed their promotional work for the newly developed and released post graduate course on Gender and the Environment.

“Understanding the impacts of a social construct such as gender on a natural construct such as the environment is very important because humans are complex in the way they each view life” said Moana Masau, a student in the first cohort who has successfully completed this course. “This is important when it comes to natural resource use and management. For technical organisations to understand the social constructs already in place and how best to work with the communities for their maximum benefit along with the environment”.

The Gender and Environment postgraduate course was developed by the USP component of the Pacific European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme.

“The Gender and the Environment postgraduate course supports PEUMP’s objective to enable gender mainstreaming as well as USP’s own vision to integrate gender and more broadly social inclusion and human rights-based approaches into their courses”. said Cherie Morris, Assistant Lecturer and USP PEUMP interim team leader. “I am confident that this course will support environmental science students see through and apply the gender lens in the workforce”.

The course explores how the environment shapes gender roles, norms and relations, and how these in turn affect the use, management and conservation of its resources, as well as social responses to climate change.

Dr Domenica Calabro, the course lecturer added that “this course includes a range of scientific works presenting relevant scholarship. It equally integrates the Pacific Handbook for Gender Equity and Social Inclusion in Coastal fisheries and Aquaculture. This is used to examine examples of dynamics and issues contextualised to the region, and to equip students with tools for intervention. While these are specific to fisheries and aquaculture, many of the insights and responses may be transferrable to other sectors.

“The course also addresses the region’s priorities to strengthen human development in fisheries, to connect environmental with social needs and to uplift the idea that gender issues are cross-cutting and important to all disciplines.” said Natalie Makhoul, PEUMP Gender and Human Rights Specialist. “In applying social concepts learnt in the course, we hope to see that future fisheries and environmental practitioners will be better equipped in addressing the region’s priorities on poverty alleviation or the empowerment of women towards equality, to name a few”.

USP is one of four key implementing partners of the PEUMP Programme, an initiative funded by the European Union and the Government of Sweden. The overall EUR 45million Programme promotes sustainable management and sound ocean governance for food security and economic growth while addressing climate change resilience and conservation of marine biodiversity. It follows a comprehensive approach, integrating issues related to ocean fisheries, coastal fisheries, community development, marine conservation and capacity building under one single regional action.

USP PEUMP is housed within the Institute of Marine Resources of the School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences. The Gender and Environment postgraduate course (GN402) is offered every first semester of the year.

Click on the links below to access impact stories from some of the course’s first cohorts; Moana MasauAnnie ToroMiriama BlakelockWatisoni Raikadroka and the course lecturer Domenica Calabro.


About us

The University of the South Pacific (USP) is the premier institution of higher learning for the Pacific, uniquely placed in a region of extraordinary physical, social and economic diversity to serve the region’s needs for high quality tertiary education, research and policy development. One of only two regional universities of its type in the world, USP has 12 member countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. USP is committed to achieving excellence and innovation for the sustainable development of Pacific Island Countries.


The Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme addresses some of the most serious challenges faced by Pacific countries. Among these are the increasing depletion of coastal fisheries resources; the threats to marine biodiversity, including negative impacts of climate change and disasters; the uneven contribution of oceanic fisheries to national economic development; the need for improved education and training; and the need to mainstream a rights-based approach and to promote greater recognition of gender issues to ensure inclusiveness and positive changes for Pacific island people.  The seven-year PEUMP programme is funded by the European Union (EUR 35 million) and the government of Sweden (EUR 10 million). It is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in close collaboration with Non-Government Organisations and the national authorities.

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