BY THE PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARY GENERAL HENRY PUNA
2021 PACIFIC RESILIENCE MEETING- YOUTH FORUM
VIRTUAL SESSION, 5th July 2021
Mr Sevuloni Rokomatu Ratu, Chair of the Pacific Resilience Partnership Youth Working Group
Dr Stuart Minchin, Director General of the Pacific Community.
Youth Leaders and Representatives from across the Blue Pacific.
Kia Orana, Bula Vinaka, Kam na Mauri– from my office and team, to all of you online today, I acknowledge and greet you across all corners of our Blue Pacific.
I am heartened to be able to join you all, and especially to welcome all the diversity, energy, and ideas you bring from all parts of the region, to this 2021 Pacific Resilience Meeting Youth Forum.
Indeed, I am of the firm belief that it is you, our young people today, who will be a “lightning rod for change” for our region.
Today, our region is faced with a range of challenges that will define the very essence of our future. These include the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the economic and socio-economic challenges it has presented; and the ongoing climate crisis we face on a daily basis.
We, the generations present today, are tasked with the responsibility of addressing these challenges head-on. Indeed, its impacts will not be limited to this year alone, rather, it will be felt for decades to come.
It is with this understanding that I am encouraged to see our youth taking a growing active and prominent role in the public conversations and discourse on critical issues such as climate and resilience.
You bring a sense of reality, urgency and a fresh perspective to policy conversations and, further, you continually demonstrate a courage and persistence that is, perhaps, lacking in my generation.
Your voice is instrumental to the decisions we make and the policies we develop today because it is your future, your livelihoods and the security of your well-being and that of our future generations, that is at stake.
Resilience is a regional priority. Our resilience is no longer an aspiration, it is a necessity.
I am very encouraged to note that your discussions today will include reflections on the ways in which young people have contributed towards resilience building efforts in the region, including how we can improve and strengthen this moving forward.
You should not underestimate the impact, significance and value of your collective efforts to mobilise and advocate for resilience and climate action at all levels – national, regional and global.
Indeed, this is why the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is part of this multi-stakeholder Pacific Resilience Partnership under the auspices of the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific – these partnerships recognise that realising our sustainable development aspirations will require a consistent and coherent whole-of-society effort.
The underlying theme of the 2021 Pacific Resilience Meeting is that resilience begins at home and as we have always emphasised, it should build on our distinct culture and traditions. At the same time we must all embrace new challenges and opportunities.
I look forward to the outcomes of your discussions.
I thank you all.
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