Press releases & statements
UNICEF: Investing in adolescents can break cycles of poverty and inequity
Suva Fiji 26 February 2011 – UNICEF today called for urgent commitment and targeted investment by governments, partners and key stakeholders to break entrenched cycles of poverty and inequity faced by more than 1 billion adolescents aged 10-19 in the world.
Highlighting key global findings in UNICEF’s flagship publication, The 2011 State of the World’s Children report, entitled ‘Adolescence: An Age of Opportunity’, UNICEF Representative in the Pacific, Dr. Isiye Ndombi urged partners to create a protective and supportive environment for adolescents by investing in vital areas such as improved data collection and analysis, education and training, expanding opportunities for youth participation so that their concerns can be heard and stepping up the fight to tackle poverty and inequity.
“This report calls for urgent action to create a supportive environment that will encourage adolescents’ rights to be fulfilled and enable them to improve their own lives,” Dr. Ndombi reiterated.
The report highlights that while enormous gains were made in the last two decades for early and middle childhood due to strong investments, young people in the second decade of their lives were not given enough consideration in international and national development contexts. Globally, millions of adolescents standing at the crossroads between childhood and the adult world are seriously disadvantaged because they lack the knowledge and skills required to deal with issues of exploitation, abuse and violence.
Dr. Ndombi said available data showed that the rights of millions of adolescents were not fulfilled. “Many are denied access to quality education, basic, sexual and reproductive health care, support for mental health issues and disability. Millions have no protection from violence, abuse and exploitation and no forums for active participation”.
He added that today’s young people faced a unique set of collective global challenges such as an uncertain global economic outlook, high levels of youth unemployment, an increasing number of humanitarian crisis and conflicts, rapid urbanization and climate change.
Drawing attention to the Pacific, Dr. Ndombi painted a grim picture of a generation of young people who faced a future of great uncertainty due to the impact of climate change and the accelerating deterioration of the environment.
The Pacific comes under the spotlight through an essay written by the President of the Republic of Kiribati, Mr. Anote Tong that is featured in the report. President Tong underscored the long term harmful consequences of climate related disruptions on the lives and prospects of young people in his country.
Kiribati, at the frontline of climate change, is among the most vulnerable globally to the impacts of climate change and will be among the first to be affected by sea level rise. Half of Kiribati’s 93,000 people are children and young people who will bear the brunt of economic disruption and the cost of mitigating and adapting to climate change in the years to come.
Dr. Ndombi echoed President Tong’s sentiments and those of other Pacific island states by warning that failure to react to climate change now would result in high cultural, social and financial costs where economic disruptions could be catastrophic, even requiring populations to relocate to other countries.
“Climate change as a development challenge requires collective action that brings together sustainable development, energy security and actions to safeguard the health and well being of children and adolescent. Young people in the Pacific, like anywhere else in the world are deeply concerned about how climate change will affect their future and are calling for urgent action,” Dr. Ndombi emphasized.
UNICEF also formally announced the engagement of former Miss South Pacific and youth activist, Merewalesi Nailatikau as the Regional Ambassador for the Pacific Island Countries.
This is the first time UNICEF is formally engaging a young Pacific islander to join a growing list of well-known and highly respected personalities throughout the world from sports, music, and performing and film arts and many other specialist fields play an important advocacy role in helping us promote UNICEF’s work.
Mere represents a positive role model for young people in particular. Her genuine interest in issues that concern UNICEF and her active involvement already in some of these causes will add to making her a great ambassador for the Pacific. Through UNICEF’s regional reach in the Pacific, Mere will be offered unique access to young people to help promote UNICEF’s messages.
“As a Regional Ambassador for the Pacific, Mere will help us in our advocacy and programme efforts in communicating to a broad public, young people in particular, the vision and values that guide UNICEF’s work for the children and further promote public awareness of the rights of children, women and young people and of UNICEF’s work protecting those rights”, said Dr. Ndombi.
Note to the editor
As part of its commitment to reaching out to adolescents worldwide, UNICEF re-launched Voices of Youth (VOY), a youth website on global themes. The platform is youth driven and allows young people to learn, discuss and take action on matters that affect their lives. For more information on VOY visit: http://www.voicesofyouth.org .
In the Pacific, Kiribati and Fiji youths have been using the Unite for Climate website and UNICEF Pacific’s Facebook page to dialogue about climate change. Anyone can comment and share ideas or photos on UNICEF Pacific’s Facebook page: facebook.com/likeunicefpacific
UNICEF focuses attention on water in Tanna
TC Vania destroys crops and livelihoods in Tanna
Making Clean Hands a Priority for More than Just a Day, Global Handwashing Day Partners Lather Up with Millions Around the World
Not Just Representatives from Health but Finance and Planning Involved in 6th PIPS Meeting
Vaccine Independence Initiative (VII) Focus of Day 4
Several Immunisations Developed in the 21st Century to Stop Childhood Deaths and Cervical Cancer
More Developing countries show universal access to HIV and AIDS services in possible
“We Need Your Samples” – Fiji National Public Health Laboratory Seek Pacific Support in Provision of Samples
New Countries Endorse the Paris Commitments to End the Use of Child Combatants
Partnerships Critical to Continue Success of Immunisation Programme in Pacific
Media Training on Development Ends with Awards
Young of Central Asia and Eastern Europe Suffering Blame and Banishment
Historic Pacific Gathering agrees regional way forward for improving security
No food security without protecting our land and our poor
We are what we eat
“Protect me with Love and Care” Children Say
Facts for life saves lives
Pacific conference on the Human Face of the global economic crisis
Young Solomon Islander to recieve prize from UNDP administrator Helen Clark
Three high-level UN meeting in Vanuatu put spotlight on development in the Pacific
Schools to Open Despite Emergency
Second tsunami in three years hits Solomon Islands
UNICEF Ready to Support People Affected in the Rewa River Delta
Under-Nutrition Causes Poverty However Solutions Exist
Preparations Underway for Pacific Conference on Global Economic Crisis
Pacific Disasters Prompts Education in Emergencies Workshop in Port Vila, Vanuatu
Emergency Safe Water Actions for Nadroga Navosa
Fiji hospitals are all baby-friendly
Pandemic Preparedness Essential Despite Uncertainties
Immunization Workshop Timely as the World Deals with Influenza A H1N1