Saturday 23 July 2011

Pacific youth want their governments to commit and act now on Green economy

By Clive Hawigen,

22 July, Apia, Samoa - “The Pacific does not need to wait for a global meeting to commit to sustainable development in a green economy. “

Ewan Cameron, Pacific Youth Representative and Pacific Moving Planet Coordinator, said in a statement circulated to the Pacific Ministers during the joint Ministerial Meeting of the Rio + 20 preparatory meeting held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia, Samoa.

Representing the Pacific youths, Mr Cameron said: “We humbly ask that you allow your youth to contribute towards policy making decisions as we have a sense of ownership and responsibility to our countries, our families and our environment.”

He said sustainable development is the clear solution to meet the environmental challenges, but it was slow in coming and the youths of the Pacific were hopeful that the Rio+20 will be setting that reevaluates the global commitment and bring about a Green Economy in a Blue World, especially for us in the Pacific as it would benefit us all.

Mr Cameron further stated that they deserved a legacy of a strong environment, one that has helped nourish and protect our ancestors and would continue to shelter and embrace our children and our children’s children.

He said Pacific youth support the strong negotiation positions that reflect a low carbon future and sustainable energy practices through renewable energy, in the effort to lower CO2 concentration levels and also recommended that Green taxes and budget reforms also be considered and implement.

Youths also proposed that investment in education capital at a young age to develop capacity be included as a pathway to a Green Economy and request an increase in scholarship opportunities for Pacific islanders where there a gaps in the technical areas.

“We ask you to involve the communities in educational awareness, so that a holistic approach is taken as part of the Investment in Education Capital to bring about change in behavior.” We the youth stand before the governments of the Pacific and offer our support in whatever way needed to achieve a Green economy in the least amount of time possible,” he said.

Your say:  How can Pacific youth contribute towards greening an economy?

"What I personally feel is that it is vital that we recognise that skills are not only passed through formal education modes and in saying that, education plays a significant role in linking knowledge to change and linking actions for sustainable development. I think that over the years there’s been assumptions made that when we talk about sustainable development, they are best described through formal education mode. There’s a need to have a balance and also valuable of traditional knowledge and the richness of inter-generational conversation and knowledge sharing processes.  In this process I see that it is critical to involve young people and this process where traditional knowledge is passed down from elders to young people and so that young people, which is in line to formal education systems is a threat to young people in the sense that the traditional component or the traditional knowledge is lost and I think that there needs to be some merger between building in traditional concepts and traditional knowledge and using these with what young people have gain through schools through the formal education system and in saying that I think that young people have a critical role in building a prosperous future for us here in the Pacific." Morena Rigamoto – Live and Learn Environmental Education (FIJI)

"Youths can participate in community activities that will assist in mitigating and adapting for climate change, they can also be supportive to and be involved in a lot of activities that help them to become better leaders of the future and also understand the role that they have in terms of developing policies and having an input into policies that’s going to affect future generations."  Lili Tuioti – Tokelau Department of Education

"Yes I think youths can do a lot of activities to contribute to the green economy at the community level. Because in my country, we target all civil society, NGO’s, youth, church group and youths can contribute on basic and community base projects around where they can collect data." -
Asipeli Palaki, Department of Environment Tonga

"Youths can help towards implementation of greening the economy especially in educating their peers. A great example would be peer to peer education and probably advocating whatever messages that needs to be put across. As of this year, more than half of the population of the Pacific are under the age of 24 years, so a great deal of this would be educating them and advocating the message that come out from this meeting." - Maseikula Niumataiwalu, Youth Representative, The Econesian Society

"I think the youth as the power to do all the work but they just need guidance so that they don’t cross over boundaries and violate laws. Peer to peer spreading of information and educating people and I think they’ll bridge the gap rather than having government officials go in or people from offices go in and teach the communities because they sometimes don’t take it really seriously but the youth can actually help on that. They can bridge the gap in educating people and it’ll be more effective." - Lucille M. Sain, Youth representative, Federated States of Micronesia