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“We were happy to have diverse participation from youth representatives from other countries and to see the voices of young people taken seriously.”
These were the reflections of ‘Ana Malia Falemaka, Pacific Women Lead Governance Board member, after the first Virtual Polynesia Sub-Regional Youth Dialogue on Gender Issues. She is providing accompaniment support to two youth representatives from the Polynesia sub-region for the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders’ Meeting (PIF WLM).
“These fruitful discussions will help the representatives prepare for attending the meeting later this month,” Ms Falemaka explained.
The sub-regional dialogue for Polynesia was convened on 10 August by the Pacific Community (SPC) through Pacific Girl, in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) and Pacific Youth Council (PYC).
The dialogue provided an opportunity for diverse views, peer perspectives, and transformative solutions from young women and young men on three key policy issues identified through the consultations on revitalising the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration (PLGED): leadership, gender-based violence (GBV), and defining gender in a Pacific context.
In addition to the nominated sub-regional representatives to attend the PIF WLM – Fuatino Tangitau and Sebastian Tonga – the dialogue was attended by youth from Tokelau, Tonga and Samoa.
“I am truly inspired by the discussions earlier,” shared Fuatino. “Everything we discussed in the meeting was very useful and does depict reality. I believe that this will be very powerful information that I could use in the PIF WLM in Suva and proudly represent Polynesian countries.”
Youths from the Federated States of Micronesia also participated in the dialogue in one of three discussion groups during the virtual session.
“I was very happy to not only participate and share about the experiences and cases of GBV, leadership and gender in the Pacific context here in Tonga but also listen to the stories of neighbouring countries,” added Sebastian. “I learned so much…I am super grateful and humbled to be provided the opportunity to represent the voices of Polynesian youths to the PIFS WLM later this month and I only hope I can make our region proud.”
The Micronesian dialogue was convened by PIDP last week, with the Melanesian dialogue expected to be convened by PYC on Thursday August 17, 2023.
The dialogues will inform the high-level messaging of the sub-regional youth representatives attending the PIF WLM in Suva, Fiji, from 31 August to 1 September 2023.
The Pacific Girl programme is supported by the Australian Government and managed by the Pacific Women Lead at SPC programme (PWL at SPC).