Pacific governments seek to leverage potential of young people in building resilience

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Governments and youth leaders from Commonwealth member countries in the Pacific will seek to agree an ambitious plan of action for regional youth development when they gather in Samoa next week.

The Pacific Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting, in Apia from 1 - 3 September, will be convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat and hosted by the Government of Samoa under the theme: Youth as partners in sustainable small island development.

Commenting ahead of the meeting, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj said: “Most of our Pacific member countries are small island developing states susceptible to economic shocks and those caused by natural disasters. Their vulnerability is now exacerbated by climate change. If these challenges are to be overcome, we must rely on the capacity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of young people.

“As we seek to empower the next generation of policy-makers and business leaders across the Pacific to enhance resilience, we must also recognise that this generation faces its own challenges, such as limited access to employment opportunities, lack of voice, and issues related to health and wellbeing.

“This meeting gives Commonwealth governments a platform to demonstrate their commitment to young people and collaborate on their priority concerns and ambitions. Our agenda is ambitious, but our resolve is strong and we are hopeful for a powerful plan of action to be agreed by the participating governments.”

Hon. Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, Minister for Women, Community and Social Development in Samoa, said: “This meeting is an opportunity and platform for the Pacific to ensure youth regional specific priorities are articulated with agreed action going forward. This will inform, shape and influence our joint forces in the region in the realisation of economic benefits and social resilience for our ‘talavou’ (youth).”

During the meeting, Youth Ministers, senior government officials, youth leaders and civil society youth development stakeholders will seek to reach agreement on issues including youth employment and entrepreneurship, the professionalisation of youth work, and the role of young people in delivering global sustainable development goals.

Ahead of the Ministerial meeting between 2 and 3 September, Pacific youth leaders will participate in a Youth Leaders’ Forum on 1 September. The forum will be managed by the Commonwealth Youth Council and supported by the Samoa National Youth Council.

Commonwealth member countries represented will be Australia, Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Notes to Editors

Photos from the Pacific Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting are available on request by contacting media@commonwealth.int

For updates and announcements from the meeting, visit the Commonwealth website at thecommonwealth.org and follow and @CommonwealthSec on Twitter.

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