Youths have been encouraged to be part of the climate crisis solution at the 2019 Youth Climate Ambassador Conference held at the Fiji national University earlier this year.
Guest Speaker, Coordinator Programme Management at Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), Afsrin Ali, reiterated the importance of youths to be actively involved in the discussions surrounding climate crisis as the effects would greatly impact them and future generations.
The program was designed to bring youths together and decide how they could become more proactive in addressing Fiji’s climate change and other sustainable development challenges.
Ali said such conferences provide youths with an opportunity to voice their concerns, which can be further amplified at the international stage.
“We should be mindful of this – climate change is not your doing. You are inheriting a problem, but the solution lies within you,” Ali said.
“It is in your hands whether you can do something for this planet. Whenever we have any crisis or somebody attacks you then you have two options, that is, whether to fight or flight – whether to fight back or to run away, but where are you going to run away to? Therefore, you do not have any other options, but to be vocal.”
The objective of the conference was to enable participants to have discussions on the underlying factors that have combined to contribute to the climate crisis, possible mitigating solutions and working towards resolving the problem.
Also speaking at the forum, the founder and Board Chair of Project Survival Pacific, Krishneil Narayan shared that as leaders of tomorrow, young people need to collectively voice their concerns.
“Youths are the partners and leaders of today. Each one of you are like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. When you come together as one, our voices are stronger and we can work towards a sustainable future of Fiji, the Pacific region and beyond,” he said.
Participants also discussed oceans, health, adaptation, mitigation, food and agricultural security, gender and other thematic areas related to the climate change nexus.
The conference also provided a platform to discuss and plan in areas that youths view important for climate action, which serves as a basis for youth-focused activities in 2020.
Isha Verma, a participant of the conference, shared that she found the sessions most engaging with a unique approach.
“I have never been to any conference like this which provided young people to share their views so openly and be heard. I felt so comfortable to share my concerns in the talanoa setting. I thank the organizers for providing us with such platform,” she said.
This year’s Youth Climate Ambassador Conference organized by Project Survival Pacific was kindly supported by Fiji National University, Pacific Islands Development Forum and The Climate Reality Project.

Kirisitiana Uluwai
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