Hundreds of Fijian youth add their voice in national summit on the nation’s climate agenda
Suva, Fiji, 16 March 2021 – Two hundred Fijian youths from around the country will share their experiences and knowledge at the three-day National Youth Climate Action Summit which is aimed at advancing youth-led community initiatives and provide vital youth inputs to the Fijian Government on the Climate Change Bill.
Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, while officiating as Chief Guest at the Summit which commenced today at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel, said the commitments of the youths are real.
“You aren’t driven by hidden agendas or swayed by corporate interests. Your participation isn’t political, your purpose is pure, and your passion is raw. Your voices are loud, and your commitments are real,” he said.
“To me, your age doesn’t discredit you. For you, saving our climate isn’t some passing phase or extracurricular activity, but it is the defining cause of your generation because you know that the stakes couldn’t be higher. You are the generation that, due to no fault of your own, has inherited a climate emergency.”
“Fiji is committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have a ground-breaking Climate Change Bill in the consultation process that will keep us accountable to our net-zero ambition. I urge you to read that Bill. It is a development defining piece of legislation and we are also doing the hard work of adapting to climate impacts, investing in resilient infrastructure, relocating vulnerable communities, and harnessing nature to build powerful buffers between Fijians and the rising seas.”
“By acting now, your nation is setting an example we hope the entire world will follow and each of you will drive action in your homes and classrooms, your communities, in all of Fiji, in the Pacific region, and the world over,” Prime Minister Bainimarama added.
“Your passion is precisely what the world needs, and your activism and ideas will be what finds solutions to the problems that those before you have created.”
The national summit, including youth participants from registered youth clubs around the country, comes at an opportune time as the Government undertakes national consultations on the Climate Change Bill. The new knowledge and ideas being shared amongst the youth will support communities to act on climate change as well as amplify Pacific youth voices for the upcoming COP26 later in the year.
“The idea for this National Youth Climate Action Summit was supported by and given from by the Youths of Fiji who I have interacted with from urban to rural to maritime areas in their talanoa sessions with my team,” said the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations and Youth and Sports, Hon. Parveen Bala. “I want to thank my Ministry’s commitment together with our key stakeholders for all their effort in putting up this event to recognise the voices of youth.”
With one-third of Fiji’s population under the age of 35, young people in this country have immense potential to positively influence the development of the country. This summit will provide an opportunity to create awareness and dialogue on Fiji’s Climate Change Bill.
It is also an opportunity to renew commitment towards youth-led community action to combat climate change, and enable youth to better communicate and network on this issue with government ministries and development partners. This collaboration is imperative to address climate change.
“The Government of Fiji has been a global leader in highlighting the risks of climate change, an issue that is already affecting our young people’s lives in Fiji,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “We need to continue our collaborative work with youth in supporting them as agents of change on this critical issue.”
This National Youth Climate Action Summit is organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and UNICEF. The summit is supported by the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, Ministry of Employment, National Disaster Management Office, UN Habitat, The Pacific Community, OXFAM in the Pacific, Pacific Disability Forum, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Pacific Region, United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Development Programme.
Notes to Editors:
About the Fijian Ministry of Youth and Sports:
The overall role of the Ministry of Youth and Sports is to facilitate and ensure the full development of young people's potential through the provision of strategic supportive networks and initiatives for character development, entrepreneurial activities, sports and community based civic initiatives. The Ministry formulates and implements policies on youth development as well as promotes and facilitates sports development within the framework of existing national policies and priorities. To ensure young people are groomed and prepared positively to meet the challenges of their generation, the delivery of life skills programme, empowerment and capacity building programme, specific skills programs such as agriculture, carpentry, multi skills and music training continue to be the focus areas of the Ministry.
For more information, please contact:
Emi Koroitanoa, Fijian Ministry of Youth and Sports, Tel: +679 3315960, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, email@example.com
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.