Noelene Nabulivou

Meet Noelene Nabulivou, a strong Fijian advocate for gender, social, economic, ecological and climate justice. Her life has been shaped by the values of radical feminism, liberation on all territories, ecological balance, ending all forms of violence, and building peace. Her earliest work arose through a close relationship with her mother and father who have been peacebuilders and Christian justice workers all their lives. Her degrees are in Peacebuilding and Restorative Justice and secondly in International Relations. Her greatest learning is from feminist activism.

For Noelene, feminism is a way of life. She holds many social movement roles, gained diverse experience working with DIVA for Equality, Women’s Action for Change, and has ties to many women-led, youth, migrant and Indigenous led groups across the Pacific, Australia and globally for over 35 years. She has been part of the work of Fiji Qaqa Grassroots Young Feminist Network, DIVA LBTQ Hubs, Women Defend Commons Network, Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights, Pacific Islands Feminist Alliance for Climate Justice, Pacific Women Mediators Network, PICAN, Transcend Oceania, Citizens Constitutional Forum, RESURJ, DAWN, Fos Feminista, IWHC, Women’s Major Group (to the High Level Political Forum/HLPF), Kewita Women’s Group in West Papua, UFFO in Kanaky, and works with feminist groups in the Caribbean, Timor Leste, Wales and through the Pacific Feminist Community of Practice (over 50 groups in 10 countries) and the Pacific Feminist SRHR Coalition (over 80 groups in 12 countries). In her own words, she beautifully expresses her identity, “I am both – a drop of water and the ocean.”

For Noelene, peacebuilding is an active process that requires resistance. Peace is not passive. In her view, peacebuilding requires transformative action and the dismantling of oppressive hetero-patriarchal, racist, misogynist, (post) colonial systems. She is committed to overcoming structural inequalities – breaking and building toward feminist futures for all. Process and outcome matters equally and as a peacebuilder, Noelene advocates for an approach she calls the “double nexus.” This includes two sets of work: On one hand dealing with issues of individual embodied justice including sexuality, gender, social and economic justice, care economies, decent work and universal human rights. On the other hand, climate and ecological justice, disaster risk reduction and response, biodiversity, protection of planetary boundaries and the living Planet.

Noelene believes we must recognize crucial contributions of women in mediation and peacebuilding across the world including in the Pacific region and to resource, support and lead with feminist intent in State and societal spaces. She works to end patriarchy, to build sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), to ensure rights related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). She works on gender based violence response and prevention programmes, and another particular focus is unpaid care, domestic and communal work, and the feminisation of poverty.

Noelene devotes considerable time to shaping feminist foreign and domestic policy and believes that changes must be informed and led by women from the majority World. She is always part of the deeper work of decoloniality, decolonisation and anti-imperialism. Intersectionality and Interlinkage are central themes in Noelene’s current peacebuilding work on the connections between feminist work and socio-economic, ecological and climate justice. She stresses the urgency of addressing the alarming state of 6 of the 9 known Planetary Boundaries (Stockholm Resilience Centre), expressing frustration with the slow pace of positive change from national to global. She underscores the specific responsibility of major carbon polluters who have done the most damage to our planet, corporate false solutions and the States and development sector that enable them. As a feminist climate advocate, Noelene underscores the importance of protection of women environmental human rights defenders. She urges strong, clear-eyed, careful integration of feminist women, peace, and security with climate and ecological justice.

Her work is a testament to the power of individual and collective action and the transformative potential of feminist values in shaping a just, balanced future, where all are safe and free.