This statement was delivered by the Regional Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Melanesia, Mia Rimon, during the ‘Emerging Youth Leaders of Melanesia Programme’ last week in Port Vila.
Rimon said: “Our region has never been more vulnerable.
“Climate change and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are threatening our very existence.
“Corruption and greed are eroding cultural values and breaking apart Melanesia.
“Two out of three Melanesian women suffer physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime. Up to 40% of our daughters under the age of 15 are sexually abused.
“PNG did not achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Vanuatu and Solomon Islands scored badly on the MDGs, failing to achieve almost all. We are resource rich but quality of life poor.” As the future of these nations rests on the hands of its youth, nurturing and empowering them (the youth) to stand up for Melanesia and to be able to lead their countries out from hardships in the next decade was the main objective of this youth programme conducted by SPC and the MSG Secretariat.
Youth unemployment is a critical issue in all pacific countries in which whom all have a large population of youth seeking their inclusiveness in development.
A component of the programme, which ended on Friday, was dedicated to learning more about the [email protected] Programme model initially introduced in Solomon Islands dedicated to tackling youth unemployment.
This programme has a positive impact on the lives of the participants, with 39% reported to have found further employment after the experience. As part of the recent intensive training in Port Vila, 20 youth from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon, New Caledonia and Vanuatu that were brought in.
It includes practical sessions and visits to workplaces and agencies.
Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale who opened the meeting with his exceptional role model experience, called onto the participants to fear not but rise, take up challenges to ensuring everyone’s desire and interest are addressed efficiently.
“I personally feel and convinced that ‘responsible, ethical and proactive leadership’ is about considering others values more than one’s interest,” he said.
“The national interest must become the determinant of all your decisions.
“We lead because there are others who follow, and so let us decide for their welfare more than us,” he said.