Young people are actively contributing to a visioning exercise to help inform the Pacific Community 2021 – 2030 Strategic Plan. The median age in the Pacific region is 22.6. This is Indicative of a young population which will have a significant influence on every area of development in the region in the coming decade(s).
Why engage youth?: In line with Priority Outcome 3 of the Pacific Youth Development Framework 2014 – 2024 of Governance structures empower young people to increase their influence in decision-making processes the Pacific Community’s strategic planning process is grounded in values of inclusivity and reciprocity. The approach emphasises inclusive consultation and the strategic planning process aspires for broad engagement with diverse stakeholders to harnesses the collective intelligence and wisdom across our Pacific community to develop ownership of the Strategic Plan.
From March to May 2020, a call through the Pacific Community’s Social Development Programme (SDP) was issued to national youth focal points, seeking to learn the next generation’s vision for 2030; believing that future leaders should be engaged in present planning. Through collaboration with SDP, youth representatives, disability and LTBQI advocates from 9 countries (Cook Islands, FSM, Fiji, Palau, PNG, RMI, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu) shared 94 insights and hopes for a safe, secure and equitable 2030 through an online questionnaire.
The Pacific youth representatives and disability and LGTBQI advocates; collective responses identified 5 emerging themes that will inform the next strategic plan. These are inclusiveness, culture and traditions, leadership and civic participation, climate action and wellbeing.
The 2030 futures responses provided insight into priority areas that are defining issues for young people in the Pacific through a COVID-19 lens. These have reinforced the importance of positive climate change action, mental health considerations, cultural resilience; economic and social security factors that affect and are shaping the next generation.
As the Pacific’s next generation demonstrates its willingness to take on some of our toughest development issues, the need for investment in the leadership of young people, has never been more important.