Pacific youth plan for climate change
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 12:21


Pacific YouthReviving traditional knowledge on caring for the environment complemented by advances in modern science can help better prepare Pacific island communities for natural disasters and a changed environment due to climate change. This was highlighted at the Pacifica Climate Leadership Workshop attended by young people from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Nauru, Fiji, New Zealand and Cook Islands. The workshop was held in Suva, Fiji, from 14 to 17 June, 2010. The youth and climate change consultation, taking to heart the theme of ‘getting to work’, focused on awareness raising and building leadership capacity amongst young people. Workshop discussions covered climate science and climate justice, climate policies, communications and climate leadership, using the narrative format.

Regional and Pacific leaders want more consultation with youth in planning national activities and the workshop presented an opportunity for Pacific Island youth to come together to discuss citizen-based responses to the climate emergency. Even though it took almost 100 years and an increase of 0.7 degrees Celsius for the world to react to the urgency of climate change, young people today have acknowledged that the consequences of living in a hotter world in the next 50 to 100 years call for urgent action today.

The Pacific Islands collectively contribute less than 0.1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but the effects of climate change are already being felt in the Pacific. The youth of Pacific Island countries, especially those living in low-lying and coastal areas, will be most affected.  Innovation is needed to mitigate climate change impacts and public-private partnerships must be established to address climate change at the community and national level.

At the end of the workshop, Pacific youth drafted national action plans on climate change and with youthful enthusiasm showed eagerness to take the plans back home for national consultation and implementation. The first milestone for the workshop will be on 10 October 2010 (10/10/10) when participants will collectively place their action plans into the Global Work Party, which will be taking place across the world.  The Global Work Party is an idea that originated in Britain and was adopted by The global initiative focuses on activities that can help address the impacts of climate change including tree planting, clean-up campaigns, use of eco-friendly bags, and the like. The British High Commission and the French Embassy in Fiji have pledged their support for the implementation of the action plans.

The workshop was supported by the SPC/GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) Regional Programme on Adaptation to Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region, the European Union, the British High Commission, the French Embassy, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the Fiji Department of Youth and Sports, the Embassy of the United States of America and

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