Thirty young islanders, aged from fourteen to thirty years old, took part part in a five day workshop in Nadi, Fiji from the 4-9 of July. The SIDS Youth Pacific workshop is one of several meetings happening across the SIDS regions with the aim of engaging youth in the preparatory process to the Third International Conference on SIDS (Apia, Samoa 2014).
UNESCO, UNICEF and UNFPA with support from other UN partners and the regional organizations in SIDS areas (SPC, PIFS, CARICOM and IOC) are supporting a process for young people to share their issues, envision the future young people want, and be able to influence the outcomes of the 2014 Global Conference. Youth representatives elected by these young people are given the opportunity to represent the voices of SIDS youth during various regional and inter-regional preparatory meetings.
The Pacific Regional meeting in Nadi (10-12 July) reserved them quite a significant space. Youth issues received a lot of attention as young people representing the SIDS youth forum made sure there was space for their voices to be heard. "We are tired of being an issue. We are not an issue, we are a partner who can assist you in identifying the issues and finding solutions", said one of the youth delegates.
Young delegates are convinced that development should go beyond environment and infrastructure, energy or tourism and should be primarily seen as a "human issue''. They showed sensitivity to disability and to the importance of preserving cultural diversity. They identified six priority areas for SIDS including: Education, Good Governance, Youth Employment, Inclusivity, Climate Change, Crime and Violence.
To have a look at how young Pacific activists engage and commit to change watch:
SIDS Yes: Day one - What are SIDS?
SIDS Yes: Day two - "Sight is a function of the eye. Vison is a function of the heart"
SIDS Yes: Day four - Sharing cultural diversity