Story | 16 Apr, 2021

Pacific Island youths stand ready to fight for their future

More than 10,000 youths from over 140 countries took part in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) first-ever virtual ‘One Nature, One Future’ Global Youth Summit that concluded yesterday with the delivery of the Pacific Island youth outcome statement.

The outcome statement highlighted the need for Pacific Island youths to unite and voice their concerns on environmental issues faced in the region.

Speaking on behalf of the Pacific Island youths, Ms Rebecca Teleni said: “We call on countries with high carbon emission rates to reduce their carbon emissions. We must build resilience to the increasing tropical cyclones, flash floods, sea-level rise, and seasonal changes. We must start at the community level through mangrove planting initiatives for coastal communities and implement Disaster Risk Reduction policies to safeguard vulnerable communities”.

Held in Suva, Fiji, IUCN Oceania brought together the diplomatic corps, heads of conservation organisations, youth ambassadors and partners for an event to acknowledge the Pacific Island youths for actively participating in the two-week-long virtual global summit.

These events were planned by the youths themselves and it is encouraging to note the high number of youths who participated in the Global Youth Summit. I saw in our youths their passion for the environment and determination to make a difference and IUCN stands ready to assist the youths secure the future they want and a resilient region that values and conserves nature”, said Mr Mason Smith, Regional Director for IUCN Oceania.

The summit provided a platform for the Pacific Island youths to come together and engage in discussions on conservation, connect to young leaders and experts, and boost the growing youth movements for climate change.

While the main summit programme was held across different time zones, IUCN Oceania hosted hubs in which youths in Suva gathered while virtually connecting with the rest of the youths from the region and around the world.

Four thematic sessions with expert speakers were organised by the Pacific Island youths that included Climate Change; 10th Pacific Islands Nature Conference; Plastics in the Pacific Islands and the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.  

In order to work collectively as a region, governments and other institutions must include our Pacific cultural values and knowledge. This is to secure our social, cultural, environmental, and economical integrity of the Pacific”, Ms Teleni continued as she delivered the outcome statement.

The time for change is now and we, the Pacific Island youths, stand ready to fight for our future

The Pacific Island youth outcome statement will be included in the global outcome document of the IUCN ‘One Nature, One Future’ Global Youth Summit and delivered at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the world’s largest conservation event.