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Pacific And Māori Youth to Talk Disaster Resilience

Pacific And Māori Youth Converge to Talk Disaster Resilience.

In less than a week, around 50 young Pacific Island and Māori youth delegates (15-35yrs) from around New Zealand and the Pacific, will be making their way to Auckland to share experiences, attend workshops and develop action plans on youth engagement in strengthening community resilience in the face of natural disasters.

The three day event (Dec 4-6th), 'Power Shift Pacific: Looking Beyond Disaster - Youth Forum’ precedes a second youth event on climate change: ‘Power Shift NZ-Pacific’ - the biggest youth climate summit New Zealand has ever seen.

Whilst organised separately with different themes and objectives, the two events are connected by the voice, leadership and passion of the young people attending.
(Please see below for respective events contacts.)

“One Ocean, One People, One Voice”

The youth forum on disaster resilience aims to enhance and strengthen the young participants’ leadership skills and equip them with tools and resources to enable them to contribute positively to their communities and decrease the vulnerabilities of island communities to disasters. It also presents an opportunity for Pacific Island and Māori youth to develop their networks and widen their perspectives on their contribution to disaster preparedness through community resilience and to develop a spirit of volunteerism.

As a metropolitan city with the largest Pacific island community living abroad, Auckland will serve as an ideal location for the forum, bringing youth delegates from across the Pacific region and Māori youth the indigenous people of Aotearoa together. Youth participants currently confirmed are from Pacific Island communities including Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, American Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tokelau and Vanuatu.

Funded by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and organised by a group of Māori and Pacific youth with support from Generation Zero and 350 Aotearoa, the forum outcomes will include the development of disaster resilience action plans to be implemented by the participants in their home communities.

Senior Advisor Youth, for the National Commission Vicki Soanes says the voice of young people is crucial in post-disaster environments.

"This event is truly owned and run by youth - which is what makes it so special. Participants at this forum will join an international community network of youth ‘Looking Beyond Disaster'. The first Forum using this format was held in Christchurch a year ago and such was the success of that, a second forum was held in Sendai Japan earlier in the year. Both of those forums enabled the young people attending to develop not only their own voice and articulate and share their experiences of living through natural disasters but they worked on action plans that they took back to their respective communities to lead and implement."

The 50 participants are mostly members of youth council or civil society groups in their respective communities and a core group of young leaders have been involved in planning the event since December 2011.

Vicki says that this forum is a direct result of one of the action plans developed in an earlier forum.

"A group of Pacific and Māori youth developed an action plan to address the need for greater youth representation from the Pacific region at forums to ensure that the voices of some of the most vulnerable societies are heard. What I've seen throughout the last two forums is that providing the space, time and format for young people to work together is powerful in itself. Participants often feed back to us how empowered they feel by the end of the forum - not only able, but passionate about using their voices, networks and shared experiences to contribute to their respective communities."

"Organisers of both Power Shift events could see the potential in linking up for the benefit of the young people attending - and there is substantial cross-over between climate change and disaster resilience. We think it will be a powerful opportunity for participants to engage deeply with a variety of issues while they are in one location."

The outcomes of this Power Shift Pacific: Looking Beyond Disaster Youth Forum, will include the development of action plans and youth projects to be implemented in different communities, as well as the development of a Pacific youth volunteer network enabling an exchange of information between Pacific Island youth living abroad and their island communities.

Feedback will be incorporated into the subsequent event, "Power Shift NZ-Pacific" which runs from the 7th to 9th of December, to ensure the presence of a Pacific perspective to climate change - an issue of extreme significance to the Pacific region.

The organisers include Pacific youth that were at the 'Looking Beyond Disaster Youth Forum' in Christchurch, the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO as well as a partnership with the organisers of Power Shift NZ-Pacific, Generation Zero and 350 Aotearoa. Supporting organisations include Pacific Youth Council, Oxfam, Commonwealth Youth programme Pacific centre, Auckland University Pacific Island Student Association (AUPISA).

PowerShift Pacific: Looking Beyond Disaster Youth Forum runs from December 4th to December 6th and will take place in The University of Auckland’s Fale Pasifika.



New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO: http://www.unesco.org.nz/index.php/news-/news-reports
New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/UNESCONZ

Previous Looking Beyond Disaster Youth Forum - Sendai, Japan, 2012.
YouTube video summing up the Sendai event: http://bit.ly/Sendai2012
New Zealand participants blogged about their Sendai experiences: http://nzlookingbeyonddisastersendai.wordpress.com/

Auckland, New Zealand (Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland)
Key Programme Summary

Monday 3rd December 2012
5pm Welcome to delegates and registration at the accommodation.

Tuesday 4th December 2012 (Looking Beyond Disaster)
9:00-11:00 Official welcome in front of Fale Pasifika (traditional Māori welcome on to campus)
Elizabeth Rose, Secretary-General, New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO
Susan Vize, UNESCO Pacific (video welcome)
Introduction to Forum Facilitators - Polikalepo Kefu and Inangaro Vakaafi
Official Opening of Forum
1.00pm - 5pm - Workshops including:
* Sharing experiences of looking beyond disasters: Polynesia(Samoa, Niue, Tonga, Tokelau)
* Bridging a Gap between Island Communities-Fale Andrew Lesa
* Disaster Risk Reduction - Carlos Caledron (Oxfam)
* Sharing experiences of looking beyond disasters: Melanesia (Vanuatu, PNG, Solomons, Fiji)
* Overview of the action plans that groups will work on together

Wednesday 5 December 2012 (Resilience to the Impacts of Climate Change)
9:00 - 5pm - Workshops including:
* Creative learning environments: ‘Creative Communication Tools for Campaigns’
* Sharing experiences Looking Beyond Disasters (Micronesia) Experiences from FSM, Kiribati, Tuvalu.
* Mitigation and Adaptation to climate change – Mikaele Maiava
* Creative learning environments: Creative Communication Tools for Campaigns 2
* Teaspoon of Light workshop – Associate Professor Peter O’Connor, University of Auckland
* Resilience in post-disaster communities and opportunities for change
* Action & Campaign Planning

Thursday 6th December 2012 - (Youth Action and Innovation)
Workshops including:
* Youth Action and Volunteerism in Disasters
* Pacific Volunteers Red Cross - Polikalepo Kefu
* Evaluating the Lessons from the Student Volunteer Army in Christchurch – Student Volunteer Army
* Cross-cultural communication with Daniel Nepia
* Presentations of Campaign & Action Plans


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